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ALBUM REVIEW: "The Big Picture"


David Krakauer

"The Big Picture"

Table Pounding Rec.

Over the past three decades, clarinetist David Krakauer has carved out niches in a range of styles including classical, jazz, and klezmer (he was a member of the Klezmatics in the 1990's). He's found a way to combine all of his interests on his excellent new album, "The Big Picture." The title nicely references both the movies whose tunes he mines and the scope of emotions evoked by Jewish-themed film music. Several of the chosen compositions relate to Judaism through the directors', composers', or actors' heritage ("Keep It Gay" from "The Producers"; "People" from "Funny Girl"). Some are from immigrant-themed films, like "The Family" from "Avalon." Others are from Holocaust-themed films, including "Wilkommen" from "Cabaret," "Love Theme" from "Sophie's Choice," and "Moving To The Ghetto" from "The Pianist."

Stylistically, the music traverses a wide territory. "Honeycomb" from "Lenny" contains elements of acid jazz and "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" ("If You See My Mother") from "Midnight in Paris" is downright funky. My favorites are Krakauer's klezmer interpretations of "The March" from "Love And Death" and "Love Theme" from "Sophie's Choice."

No small part of the magic of this album lies in the arrangements, most of which are by Krakauer, with a few by Andrew Barrett and Kathleen Tagg. He has also assembled a wonderful group of musicians, including Jenny Scheinman, violin; Adam Rogers, guitars; Rob Burger, various keyboards and vibes; Greg Cohen, bass; Jim Black, drums and percussion; and guests Sheryl Bailey, guitar; Nicki Parrott, bass; and Keepalive, sampler.