Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band/ Liz Carroll Irish Ensemble | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band/ Liz Carroll Irish Ensemble 

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FLYING BULGAR KLEZMER BAND/LIZ CARROLL IRISH ENSEMBLE

And you thought corned beef was the only thing the Jews and the Irish had in common. This odd bill brings together an especially open-minded klezmer band from Toronto and a group led by the woman whom many consider the world's greatest Irish fiddler--and who happens to live around here. And while I hesitate to go seeking epiphanic linkages between the two folk forms these players exemplify, I can't resist noting that jigs and freylekhs both depend on rapid, asymmetrical rhythms and spurts of spellbinding technique. On a new album entitled Fire (on their own label), the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band demonstrates a wide range, as well as a willingness to delve into many parts of it at once: one tune mixes modern klezmer techniques with dramatic recitations of century-old poetry, while the deep pulse and distinctive cross-rhythms of the insinuating "Dig" raise the musical question, What if some wandering Jews had wandered down to Morocco? The band's leader, trumpeter David Buchbinder, studied with new-jazz giant Muhal Richard Abrams and the brilliant Canadian improviser Kenny Wheeler, so his klezmer band displays strong jazz tendencies. But its distinctive stage show really hinges on a splendidly executed examination of everything from the purest traditional arrangements to a modified version of the "new klezmer" played by such New York groups as the Klezmatics and clarinetist David Krakauer. Liz Carroll, who made her reputation by capturing the All-Ireland Fiddle Championship in 1975, has since cemented it with an exhaustive repertoire and an exhausting tour schedule. She has always managed to balance exquisitely the contradictory pressures of Irish fiddling: the need for precise fingering and the more primal pull of roots. In recent years her sizable body of original compositions has achieved a stature nearly equal to that of her playing, giving her already forceful performances an extra dimension. Her band includes guitarist Jim DeWan, whose work with Carroll over the last decade has earned him an international rep of his own. Thursday, 7 PM, Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson; 312-744-1379. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band photo by Johnnie Eisen/ Liz Carroll photo by Suzanne Plunkett.

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