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Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz

Rosalie Gerut, Don ByronAudio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 17 Songs, 2008 $11.49  
Audio CD, 1993 --  
Audio Cassette, 1993 --  

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All the music, full streaming songs, photos, videos, biographies, discussions, and more.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 1, 1993)
  • Original Release Date: June 1, 1993
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J1Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,391 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prologue: '...Shed No Tears Before The Rain...'
2. Frailach Jamboree
3. Haim Afen Range ('Home On The Range')
4. Mamaliege Dance
5. Sweet And Gentle
6. Litvak Square Dance
7. C'est Si Bon
8. Trombonik Tanz
9. Bar Mitzvah Special
10. Dreidel Song
11. Seder Dance
12. Paisach In Portuagal
13. Berele's Sherele
14. Mechaye War Chant
15. Kiss Of Meyer
16. Epilogue: Tears
17. Wedding Dance

Editorial Reviews

There's a strong connection between Don Byron's humor and his profound musical curiosity, two qualities that distinguish him from his more conservative contemporaries. Both are much to the fore in this faithful tribute to Mickey Katz, a witty and innovative clarinetist who brought virtuosity and a compulsive comedy to the klezmer tradition, both with Spike Jones in the '40s and later on his own. Byron's interest in klezmer was hardly faddish when he recorded this 1993 date. His involvement dated back to his student years in the early 1980s when he joined Boston's Klezmer Conservatory Band, one of the most faithful practitioners of the form. Forging links between black and Jewish outsider traditions, Byron is as attracted by Katz's love of pastiche and parody as he is by the klezmer clarinet tradition, including Katz's takes on cowboy, Russian, and Hawaiian music. The band is superb, with fine performances by trumpeter Dave Douglas, pianist Uri Caine, and violinist Mark Feldman, as well as Byron. Together they balance contemporary musical interests with an archival re-creation of some spirited Yiddish comedy. --Stuart Broomer

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, inspiring and quality klezmer! June 14, 2002
Format:Audio CD
First off, I come from a klezmer loving standpoint. I don't know of Don Byron as a contemporary Jazz artist, but as a fan of Jazz in general, I have a healthy appreciation and the utmost respect for the man right off the bat just for having ventured into the realm of klezmer after having already been firmly established as a performer in another part of the genre. Obviously, at least a few shallow minded fans of his were put off by this album simply because in it he has broken away from what he has been formerly known for doing and tried something different. Bravo! As a person who is familiar with all kinds of klezmer music, I can easily say that this is one of the most quality productions I have ever heard! Don Byron has really pulled off a wonderful tribute to Mickey Katz with the help of some of the most top level talent in klezmer music today. Singer Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics makes the album a beauty and a joy to listen to whether you're fluent in Yiddish or not! Besides, there are more English lyrics than Yiddish to start with. Byron's mastery of the clarinet shines brightly in amongst the kitschy craziness of the happiest klezmer tracks you'll ever hear! Keep in mind, I didn't approach this CD as a Don Byron fan, but after taking in this inspired and awesome sample of his work, he will always be respected highly in my book for creating one of the best klezmer volumes I'll ever have in my rotation! Check it out - if you love klezmer, you won't be sorry!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different--but then, that's just Don Byron. March 23, 2000
Format:Audio CD
After being amazed with Bug Music, my first Don Byron album, I bought this one hoping for more of the same. It is completely different, and I couldn't be happier. While going from the frenetic and humerous swing of Bug Music to the off-beat klezmer was quite a shock--and one that took some getting used to--this CD is an amazing display of Don's talent and technical ability on the clarinet. This album has that rare ability to make you laugh out loud, smile, and drop your jaw at the musical ability and technique of the group all within the same song. Nowhere is Don's technical mastery of the clarinet more obvious than on this CD, and the humor he displays in his playing makes it very clear that he loves what he's doing--something that can't be said of many of his contemporaries.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Katzkill Kapers July 22, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Don Byron in his liner notes says that Mickey Katz ( 1909-1985) had a "unique and quirky musical vision", and this extremely entertaining CD is a terrific tribute to Katz and his versatility.
The prologue and Epilogue are both abstract jazz pieces, with excerpts from the original "Hello Solly !", of Mickey telling jokes interspersed with the music. Track # 2, "Frailach Jamboree" is straight fabulous klezmer, but with "Haim Afen Range" ("Home on the Range"), we get the beginning of the funny stuff !
Long before there was Allan Sherman or Weird Al, Mickey Katz was making hilarious musical parodies, and of those represented here, my favorite is "Seder Dance", which is a zany take on Khatchaturian's "Saber Dance".
Like Mickey Katz, Don Byron is a brilliant clarinetist, and has brought together a group of superb musicians for this CD. I must mention Mark Feldman on violin, and Uri Caine on piano who are utterly sensational, but they are all magnificent, and in what is the highlight track for me, "Dreidel Song", come together in a joyous sound that makes my heart leap inside me. I must also make mention of Lorin Sklamberg and Avi Hoffman, who do such excellent work with the vocals.
Recorded in Astoria, N.Y., in 1991, the sound is good and the total time is 53:12
This CD might be perplexing for the casual listener, but if you love klezmer, and Yiddish humor, you are guaranteed to adore it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glee With History July 19, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Who is Mickey Katz? I sure didn't know. Thank you Don Byron for sparking thought. This is an album that reminds me how little I know about music and history. Fortunately the music is so brilliant I forget my ignorance for a time. The mix of Klezmer, humor and fantastic musicianship creates one of the most enjoyable and unique sounds I've ever heard. There is so much passion in the klezmer sound. I highly recommend this album. Thank you Mickey Katz.
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Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Here's a case where you can tell the book by it's cover;Don Byron,holding a chicken is the best thing since Mickey Katz posed for similar photos on his albums.Byron,who was Downbeat(jazz) musician of the year in 1992-also played clarinet with The Klezmer Conservatory Orchestra and he and his group here,put together a terrific mix of serious klezmer music,along with Katz's unique parodies.
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