The Michigan Daily
Wednesday, April 17, 1985
iSlapstick folk? Perhaps. The Klezmorim will blast into th
fluences: chamber classicism, European ethnicity, jazz ani
ByK, the academic year is nearly over and now that
we've had our fill of such routine pleasures as the
Demon Dancers and Drummers of Kodo, and the Flying
Karamazov Brothers, it's time for something a trifle, uh,
offbeat. The Klezmorim will be appearing at the Ark the
Thursday for two shows at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and the
evening might just turn out to be the best thing since sub-
mersion tanks and mosquito zappers.
If you don't know what klezmer music is, well, be war-
ned that the first adjectives that generally come to mind
are along the lines of "unclassifiable." Geographically
speaking, the music isn't so hard to pinpoint. Klezmer
music is a tradition spanning back over four hundred
years through Yiddish-speaking ensembles that travelled
primarily across Eastern Europe, playing at weddings,
fairs and anywhere else, evolving a highly complex genre
by simply absorbing the regional musical styles of every
area it travelled to. When klezmer players emigrated to
America, they took in new elements of jazz, ragtime and
vaudeville. Though the "authentic" ensemble form of the
music has been largely extinct in practice for half a cen-
tury, its influences have spread so far afield that the
original sound is instantly recognizable, like some
memory pulled from the subconscious.
But what, you might be yelling now, does it sound like?
he Ark Thursday night to brew
d rag, vaudeville, and who-kno
Ahem. Here are some re
quotes: "looney-tunes cab
virtuousity of a classical
the rhythm and improvisa
high energy of a rock and
(my favorite), "upbeat, so
kind of sound...," "raucous
ches and waltzes, gypsyr
ts," "a jazz-age band
"surrealistic shtick," "r
"truly 'soul music'," etc.,(
The Klezmorim themsel
woodwinds and brass fron
whose act is apparently as
music. All in their late '
choked laughter and down
the kind of foot-oriented r
patrons dancing even in t
above peppering their s
Ellington number (though
Jones), they create a stag(
commentary such as "they
squirrels who just ate a ba
dull as the Mardi Gras."
Well, dullness fanatic th
this writer will be found T
Ark shows are $10.50, and(
Herb David Guitar Studio a
as at the door, which opens
their looney pot-pourri of in-
presentatively confusing press
aret jazz," "the discipline and
chamber music ensemble with
tional demands of jazz and the
roll band," "new wave ethnic"
metimes bluesy, often swinging
s brass band sound (with) mar-
melodies, and plaintive lamen-
complete with 'hot' solos,"
ves are a six-man ensemble of
m the San Francisco Bay Area
freewheeling eccentric as their
20s and early '30s, they invite
aright astonishment, as well as
esponse that has allegedly had
he aisles of Carnegie Hall. Not
ets with an occasional Duke
the effect is still closer to Spike
e ambience has invited colorful
y bounce around like a bunch of
g of coffee beans. It's about as
iat I am, you can guess where
[hursday night. Tickets for the
can be purchased in advance at
and Schoolkids' Records as well
half an hour before showtime.
Chaz Jankel-No. (Manhat-
tan and Dub Mixes) (A&M)
Chaz Jankel rose to obscure prominen-
ce as the comic keyboardist and co-
songwriter with Ian Dury and the
Blockheads. Though his material with
that group was offbeat and jazzy, his
newest solo creations run in the same
vein as those of Thomas Dolby or
Howard Jones, but with a little less (!)
of a white/new wave approach. This
12" release contains the single from a
presumably forthcoming album mixed
into Manhattan and dub versions and
spreads a percussion-dominated
melody very skimpily over 15 minutes
Jankel nonetheless proves himself as
a skilled and wily musician and the
single he has produced, apparently
from an army of synthesizers, makes
for a worthwhile addition to any collec-
tion of adequate releases by obscure ar-
tists. The song is not powerful enough to
make it by itself and would require the
aid of a trendy and crafty video in order
to make waves amongst all the MTV
competition of today.
It's cool that neat dudes like Jankel
still exist to satisfy the needs of bizarre
cats who still dig the various sounds of
the talented but obscure musicians
from the equally obscure bands who
transformed punk into art in the late
Richard Thompson-Across a
Crowded Room (Polydor)
There's good news for all of us
hapless souls who missed Richard
Thompson's reportedly wonderful con-
cert two weeks ago at the Ark; his
newest album is outstanding.
OK, so we knew it was outstanding
even before he came to town. Some of
the songs have been around a while,
and he even did a couple of them when
he appeared solo at the Ark in the fall.
That doesn't change anything though.
This album is unquestionably one of the
strongest of the year. Thompson is no
longer obsessed by his breakup with his
R ESEA RC H
Send $2 for catalog
of over 16,000 topics to
assist your research ef-
forts. For info., call toll-
free 1-800,621-5745 (in Il-
linois call 312-9220.00).
Authors' Research, Rm .600N,
407 S Dearborn. Chicago. IL 80605
wife Linda, although the experience
colors most of what he writes. He is
searching for a new direction, but he
isn't forsaking his old strengths.
His roots in Celtic folk are still strong
although not as evident as they were on
Shoot Out the Lights, his last album
with Linda. Here he's working more
within a rhythm and blues tradition, but
the result is unlike anything that
anybody else has done.
His songwriting remains
frighteningly strong. Songs like "You
Don't Say," "Fire in the Engine
Room," and "She Twists the Knife
Again" blend articulate lyrics with a
rock ethos and inventive hooks into a
mixture that could stand well even
without Thompson's extraordinary
The album is truly one of
superlatives. Thompson is one of rock
(as well as folk's) biggest talents and
he is not so much reaching a peak in his
career as he is entering into a self-
constructed period of invention-where
he builds off of his own work and
brilliant songs seem to come to him
This release is Thompson's first on a
major label in some time. Increased
distribution and better radio play could
turn it into at least an undergro ind hit
and would go a long way toward
proving that quality and commercial
success can--at least partially-mix.
-- I -:.
' ' f/
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For Further Information, attend our meeting at:
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Strong voices delight E___P__CA_
First in class.
By Susanne Baum
T IE UNIVERSITY'S Men's Glee
Club concert last Saturday was any
artist's or art lover's dream come true.
The concert contained representatives
from numerous style periods of
The Glee Club sang a Latin motet by
the Renaissance composer, Giovanni
Pierloigi da Palestra, that was full of
imitation, the most famous and in-
novative musical technique of the
Renaissance period. One section of the
choir starts, the basses, for example,
a then two measures later the tenors en-
ter, followed two measures later by the
baritones and so on until the whole
choir is singing. The Glee Club has the
strong and well-trained singers that are
needed in order to clearly hear each
group being added and thus performed
Palestrina's motet beautifully.
Next, the concert jumped into 19th
century Italian opera of Giuseppe Verdi
which contains strong, emotional con-
trasts. Verdi usually contrasted the
volume and speed of the music. At one
point in the opera, the singers were=
almost shouting and then abruptly shif-
ted to a whisper which made the
audience lean forward in their seats.
Immediately after the intermission,
the Friars burst onto stage and moved
the concert into the 20th century. The
Friars changed the whole mood of the
concert with their dynamic stage
presence. Bodies swaying to the music
and direct eye contact with the audien-
ce made it seem like the Friars were
having the time of their lives. I glanced
around and saw all eyes fixed on the
Friars and many feet tapping to the
music. The Friars last number, "King
Tut," with one Friar doing a Steve Mar-
tin imitation, brought down the house.
The choreographed movements added
additional humor to the piece.
STANLEY H. KAPLAN
The concert ended with the singing of
the Michigan Alma Mater by the
present Glee Club and the Glee Club
Alumni who were in the audience that
night. Seeing a stage overflowing with
Glee Club members of all ages, singing
the beautiful Michigan Alma Mater
provokes a deep sense of pride for this
University and its prestigious in-
stitutions like the Men's Glee Club.
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