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Plays the Music of Mickey Katz

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    Don Byron, whose 1991 solo debut album Tuskegee Experiments was ranked among the year's top jazz recordings, returned in 1993 with The Music of Mickey Katz, the celebrated klezmer bandleader and Yiddish humorist.

    Best-known today as the father of actor/comedian Joel Grey, Katz was a touring and recording star on Capitol Records in the 1950s. Byron, who began playing klezmer music at New England Conservatory in 1980, developed a particular identification with the style because of the unique possibilities it afforded the clarinet. He was especially attracted to Mickey Katz’s arrangements, which offered sophistication, wit, and a distinct emphasis on the ethnic and assimilative aspects of the Eastern European Jewish culture that produced the music.


    The tunes on Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz were drawn from Katz’s recorded legacy, which Byron studied, transcribed off the old recordings, and adapted for a band of jazz musicians that he assembled and subsequently immersed in the fine stylistic points of the genre. Making their debut in 1990 in New York at Michael’s Pub with Joel Grey, the band was an instant hit. Following two sold-out weeks, Byron took the band downtown to the Knitting Factory, where wildly mixed crowds regularly came out for this intriguing mix of ethnic music, jazz, and humor. They later performed at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, at the Montreal Jazz Festival, at clubs like SOB’s in New York, at university campuses, Jewish Community Centers, and throughout Europe, including shows at Vienna’s City Hall, and clubs in Hamburg, Munich, and Milan.


    “At first, there was a lot of racial reaction to a black man being in this music, which was essentially restricted to a small community of Jewish kids pursuing some revival thing,” Byron remarked in a Wire magazine interview. “This I found kind of ironic, unfortunate ... because I think black people have been used to everyone just stepping up and claiming to be experts on black music. I never claimed that. I just wanted to participate, and if there’s anything I got out of my New York upbringing, it’s that I’m entitled to participate in anything I really want to.”


    Indeed, Byron’s participation in a wide range of musical styles forms the basis of his artistic identity. His credits as a player, arranger, and bandleader extend from his jazz quintet, to his chamber music group Semaphore, to his Latin band, to a project featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim. He is a regular collaborator with guitarist Bill Frisell, and is much sought-after as a sideman, having performed with Craig Harris, David Murray, and Ralph Peterson, among others.


    Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz extends the already considerable reputation of this imaginative, thoughtful, and virtuosic artist.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    The Band:
    Don Byron, clarinet, vocals (14), conductor
    J. D. Parran, clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, flute
    Mark Feldman, violin, background vocals
    Dave Douglas, trumpet, background vocals
    Josh Roseman, trombone, horse lips, boat whistle, background vocals
    Uri Caine, piano, background vocals
    Steve Alcott, bass
    Richie Schwarz, drums, percussion, xylophone
    Lorin Sklamberg, lead vocals (5-8, 10-12, 15)
    Avi Hoffman, lead vocals (3, 14), background vocals

    Guest Artists:
    Brandon Ross, guitars (1, 3)
    Jerry Gonzalez, Latin percussion (5)
    Dan Hovey, Hawaiian guitar (14, 16), guitar (14)
    Jay Berliner, mandolin (12)
    Loretta Malta, background vocals (12)
    Rosalie Gerut, additional vocals

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Hans Wendl
    Recorded September 1992 at Master Sound, Astoria, New York
    Engineer: Tom Lazarus
    Assistant Engineer: David Merrill
    Mastered by George Horn, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California

    All transcriptions, re-arrangements, and re-orchestrations by Don Byron
    Excerpts from the Original New York Cast album Hello, Sally! performed by Mickey Katz on tracks 1, 16 are used under license from Capitol Records

    Design by: Stark Design
    Cover photograph by: Cora Wells Braun

    Executive Producer: Carol Yaple

nonesuch's picture
on May 29, 2008 - 7:14pm
Release Date: 
Saturday, May 1, 1993 (All day)
Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

79313

Number of Discs in Set: 
1disc
20
49
Saturday, May 1, 1993 (All day)
0
0
Artist Name: 
Don Byron
genre: 
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
UPC: 
075597931327BUN
Price: 
0.00
Label: 
CD+MP3
UPC: 
603497077366
Price: 
12.00
Label: 
MP3
Description: 

Don Byron, whose 1991 solo debut album Tuskegee Experiments was ranked among the year's top jazz recordings, returned in 1993 with The Music of Mickey Katz, the celebrated klezmer bandleader and Yiddish humorist.

Best-known today as the father of actor/comedian Joel Grey, Katz was a touring and recording star on Capitol Records in the 1950s. Byron, who began playing klezmer music at New England Conservatory in 1980, developed a particular identification with the style because of the unique possibilities it afforded the clarinet. He was especially attracted to Mickey Katz’s arrangements, which offered sophistication, wit, and a distinct emphasis on the ethnic and assimilative aspects of the Eastern European Jewish culture that produced the music.


The tunes on Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz were drawn from Katz’s recorded legacy, which Byron studied, transcribed off the old recordings, and adapted for a band of jazz musicians that he assembled and subsequently immersed in the fine stylistic points of the genre. Making their debut in 1990 in New York at Michael’s Pub with Joel Grey, the band was an instant hit. Following two sold-out weeks, Byron took the band downtown to the Knitting Factory, where wildly mixed crowds regularly came out for this intriguing mix of ethnic music, jazz, and humor. They later performed at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, at the Montreal Jazz Festival, at clubs like SOB’s in New York, at university campuses, Jewish Community Centers, and throughout Europe, including shows at Vienna’s City Hall, and clubs in Hamburg, Munich, and Milan.


“At first, there was a lot of racial reaction to a black man being in this music, which was essentially restricted to a small community of Jewish kids pursuing some revival thing,” Byron remarked in a Wire magazine interview. “This I found kind of ironic, unfortunate ... because I think black people have been used to everyone just stepping up and claiming to be experts on black music. I never claimed that. I just wanted to participate, and if there’s anything I got out of my New York upbringing, it’s that I’m entitled to participate in anything I really want to.”


Indeed, Byron’s participation in a wide range of musical styles forms the basis of his artistic identity. His credits as a player, arranger, and bandleader extend from his jazz quintet, to his chamber music group Semaphore, to his Latin band, to a project featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim. He is a regular collaborator with guitarist Bill Frisell, and is much sought-after as a sideman, having performed with Craig Harris, David Murray, and Ralph Peterson, among others.


Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz extends the already considerable reputation of this imaginative, thoughtful, and virtuosic artist.

ProductionCredits: 

MUSICIANS
The Band:
Don Byron, clarinet, vocals (14), conductor
J. D. Parran, clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, flute
Mark Feldman, violin, background vocals
Dave Douglas, trumpet, background vocals
Josh Roseman, trombone, horse lips, boat whistle, background vocals
Uri Caine, piano, background vocals
Steve Alcott, bass
Richie Schwarz, drums, percussion, xylophone
Lorin Sklamberg, lead vocals (5-8, 10-12, 15)
Avi Hoffman, lead vocals (3, 14), background vocals

Guest Artists:
Brandon Ross, guitars (1, 3)
Jerry Gonzalez, Latin percussion (5)
Dan Hovey, Hawaiian guitar (14, 16), guitar (14)
Jay Berliner, mandolin (12)
Loretta Malta, background vocals (12)
Rosalie Gerut, additional vocals

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Hans Wendl
Recorded September 1992 at Master Sound, Astoria, New York
Engineer: Tom Lazarus
Assistant Engineer: David Merrill
Mastered by George Horn, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California

All transcriptions, re-arrangements, and re-orchestrations by Don Byron
Excerpts from the Original New York Cast album Hello, Sally! performed by Mickey Katz on tracks 1, 16 are used under license from Capitol Records

Design by: Stark Design
Cover photograph by: Cora Wells Braun

Executive Producer: Carol Yaple