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Andy Statman Trio 

When: Wed., Dec. 5, 8:30 p.m. 2012
Price: $21-$25
New York native Andy Statman personifies one of the things that's great about American music—namely its tangled bastardization of old-world sounds with the already hybridized traditions that had begun to evolve on this side of the pond. On last year's double CD Old Brooklyn (Shefa), as on many of Statman's recent recordings, his immersion in bluegrass collides with his role as a leading voice in modern Jewish music. Though born into a family of cantors, he got hooked on the likes of Bill Monroe and the Osborne Brothers as a teenager in Queens and chose the mandolin as his first instrument; in the 70s he fell into jazz, picked up the clarinet, and became a key figure the New York klezmer revival. Old Brooklyn is a mixed bag—I could've done without the quasi-surf tune "Ocean Parkway After Dark" (with horrendous Oberheim OB-X organ lines by Paul Shaffer) and the hokey rock 'n' roll number "A Boppin' Crib." But Statman redeems those dogs with the album's many high points. On the dazzling clarinet showcase "Totally Steaming" he improvises against the high-pitched wail of a teakettle on a hot plate, and on "Zhok Mahoney" he plays stripped-down, mournful klezmer with his empathic longtime rhythm section, bassist Jim Whitney and drummer Jim Eagle. "A Brighter Day" is plaintive, lyrical midtempo newgrass, and "Bourbon in Jackson Hole" fits the clarinet neatly into southern string-band music. Tonight Statman is playing only with his trio, which promises better, less bombastic music. —Peter Margasak

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