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From Zydeco to Jazz, Bluegrass, Klezmer and more…..

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The Music and More Festival kicks off Sunday with JAMbalaya, featuring New Orleans sensation Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience. Doors open at 6 for a pre-show event featuring strolling musicians and Creole food for sale. Register on-line or pay the the door! CLICK HERE!

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Andy Statman: An American Legend  

By Sheldon Sands

In recent days I’ve been going about my world to the soundtrack of legendary musician Andy Statman, one of America’s premiere mandolinists and clarinetists. In particular, listening to Songs of Our Fathers, 1995, his celebrated collaboration with mandolinist David Grisman; and his most recent release, Superstring Theory, 2013, hosting fiddler Michael Cleveland with guitarist Tim O’Brien (and former Boulderite) of Hot Rize. 

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Joyful, soulful, playful and virtuosic, the stretch of Statman’s heart strings and playing and on Superstring Theory is almost supernatural, venturing freely yet cohesively between worlds both ancient and modern, traditional and experimental.  There is a breadth of emotion that moves with ease from a sweet poignant waltz (Waltz for Ari) to the exuberanance of an old time pickin’ hoe-down (Pale Ale Hop), to a hot swinging take on Ritchie Valen’s rock & roll classic, “Come on Let’s Go”.   

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Andy Statman, a native of Queens, NY, took up guitar and banjo beginning at age 12, then switched to mandolin, studying briefly with life-long friend David Grisman.   He also took up R&B and jazz Saxaphone.  He gained initial acclaim as a bluegrass musician, playing mandolin with David Bromberg and pioneering bluegrass bands Country Cookin’ and Breakfast Special, and was a session man for the likes of Bob Dylan, Vassar Clements and Jerry Garcia. Explorations into ethnic and roots traditions brought him to the study of Klezmer, a traditional Eastern European Jewish instrumental music.

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Grisman and Statman in earlier days

 This lead Statman to reconnect deeply with his Jewish roots, to come under the wings and to produce the last recordings of legendary klezmer clarinetist Dave Tarras.  Andy went on to become a prominent force of the Klezmer revival of the the 1970’s and 1980’s. 

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 On Songs of our Fathers,  Statman and Grisman and bring a delightful freshness to beloved shabbat melodies “Shalom Aleichem” and “Odon Olam”, and tear it up on “Der Rebbe”— segueing from a slow Doina (free tempo improvisation) into a smokin’ take on the Jewish dance standard “Tanz Tanz Yidelech.” But it is the gorgeously tender treatment of the late Shlomo Carlebach’s “For the Sake of my Brothers and Friends” that stopped me in my tracks and watered up the eyes… 

As a performer myself of both sacred and secular Jewish music, I’m struck by the utter ability of the musicians to dive deeply into the spirit of these traditional songs while openly interpetting them from their Americana perspectives.  All this, while utterly avoiding shmaltz….somewhat of a rarity:)

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In 2007, he was a Grammy Awards nominee in the Country Instrumental category for his version of Bill Monroe’s “Rawhide” on Shefa CD East Flatbush Blues. In 2008, Statman appeared as a guest on the Bela Fleck and the Flecktones holiday album Jingle All the Way, playing both clarinet and mandolin. The album won Best Pop Instrumental Album at the 51st Grammy Awards.  In 2012, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that Andy Statman would be awarded a National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

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The Jazz Times says, “Andy Statman blends progressive bluegrass, jazz, country, traditional Jewish music, folk and rock, all coming together through a unique, unifying aesthetic testifying to the ways in which these genres intertwine”.  Statman himself thinks of his compositions and performances as “spontaneous American-roots music and personal, prayerful Chasidic music, by way of avant-garde jazz.”  His music brings an opening to wondrous worlds of imagination, tradition and humanity.  Listen to some tracks on You Tube,  go to his website, purchase an album, and don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear Andy Statman Trio live!

Between Heaven and Earth Music Legend Andy Statman in Concert

With the Andy Statman Trio

November 13 | 7 pm | Boulder JCC, Levin Hall
$36 in advance at boulderjcc.org | $40 at the door 

Reduced price tickets available!

A Scholarship Fund has been created by generous community members to support discounted tickets for those who need them.

Simply contact kathryn@boulderjcc.org or call 720-749-2530 to arrange for a reduced price ticket.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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