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THE JAZZ AT BARD SERIES PRESENTS A JAZZ AND KLEZMER WEEKEND WITH PERFORMANCES BY NAFTULE'S DREAM AND SHIRIM ON APRIL 13 AND APRIL 14 The weekend at Bard College will also offer a screening of the documentary The New Klezmorim

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.--The Jazz at Bard series presents a jazz and klezmer weekend featuring concerts by Naftule's Dream, a jazz-klezmer band, and the band's traditional klezmer incarnation, Shirim, on Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14, at Bard College. Admission to each concert is $15, or $10 for Bard faculty and staff, as well as non-Bard students and senior citizens. Bard students will be admitted free. The weekend also offers a free screening of the documentary The New Klezmorim: Voices Inside the Revival of Yiddish Music.

Organized by two Bard alumnae, Raissa St. Pierre '87 and Sheila Moloney '84, the Jazz at Bard series is an ongoing effort to bring internationally recognized jazz performers to the Hudson Valley region. St. Pierre says that the choice of presenting performances by both the jazz-klezmer band, Naftule's Dream, and the traditional klezmer group, Shirim, was made so the series could continue to offer multidimensional programs that explore the connections between jazz and music of other genres and cultures.

On Saturday, April 13, at 8:00 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center, there will be a performance by Naftule's Dream, whose sound is "without a doubt the most startlingly original, audacious music I've heard," according to Bill Milkowski of Jazz Times. The group emerged as a major force in the radical Jewish music movement out of New York City in the 1990s and continues to break new ground with its unique blend of modern classical, freely improvised rock fusion, and Jewish roots music. The six musicians weave fiery improvisation into complex arrangements in a style reminiscent of Charles Mingus and Henry Threadgill. The American Reporter describes their music as "what you might hear were Ornette Coleman to play a Jewish wedding."

Based in Boston, Naftule's Dream has performed internationally, including at the Berlin Jazz Festival, Ashkenaz Festival of New Yiddish Culture in Toronto, Montreal Jazz Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, Bell-Atlantic Jazz Festival, New York Jazz Festival, as well as in clubs throughout the United States and Europe. They have been awarded an Arts International Fund grant for United States artists for tour support. Their three recordings--Job; Smash, Clap!; and Search for the Golden Dreydl--are released on John Zorn's radical Jewish culture label, Tzadik. Naftule's Dream is named for Naftule Brandwein, a klezmer clarinetist from the 1920s to '50s. The musicians formed this group in order to create a new sound without alienating the traditional klezmer audience of their other band, Shirim.

On Sunday, April 14, at 1:00 p.m. in Bard Hall, the band members' more traditional klezmer group, Shirim, will perform and give an informal talk on klezmer and Jewish music. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times writes of their style that it is "great ecumenical fun. Tchaikovsky rocks, and so do klezmer versions of Mahler, Satie, and other classical composers." Shirim performs classic klezmer music combined with ingenious arrangements of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Enesco. The group's holiday special with Ellen Kushner, The Golden Dreydl: A Klezmer Nutcracker, has become an annual program on National Public Radio. Shirim is also featured on the soundtrack of Woody Allen's film Deconstructing Harry. Their recordings include Oy! It's Good; Klezmer Nutcracker; and Of Angels and Horseradish.

The members of both the Naftule's Dream and Shirim are clarinetist Glenn Dickson, trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum, pianist and accordionist Michael McLaughlin, electric guitarist (Naftule's Dream) and banjoist (Shirim) Brandon Seebrook, tubist Jim Gray, and drummer Eric Rosenthal.

On Sunday, April 14, at 4:00 p.m. in Preston Hall, there will be a free screening of the documentary The New Klezmorim: Voices Inside the Revival of Yiddish Music. This film by David Kaufman is a celebration of what has been called the most important popular Jewish cultural phenomenon of recent times: the revival of klezmer and Yiddish music. Leading figures in today's jazz and klezmer music scene are featured in concert, and there are extensive interviews with performers and devotees of the music.

The weekend programs are presented by the Jazz at Bard series and the Jewish Studies Program at Bard, and are cosponsored by Alison Wines and Vineyards of Red Hook. For further information, to purchase tickets, or for reservations, call 845-876-7666 or e-mail Reservations and advance ticket purchase for the concerts are recommended.

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This event was last updated on 03-14-2002