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Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 638, August 5, 2008

Nisenson with his trio delivers us a more engaging melting pot and he has his biographical reasons for doing so. We will come to that later. Besides Nisenson himself on saxes, we hear Pierre Tanguay (drums) and Jean Félix Mailloux (bass), plus three guests: Ziya Tabassian (percussion), Luzio Altobelli (accordeon) and Denis Plante (bandonéon). Most compositions are by Damian Nisenson himself. We hear a live registration dating from december 2007. Nisenson takes his inspiration from Eastern Europe and Jewish music traditions. We hear many motives that sound familiar with we have heard before on so many klezmer records. Nisenson who grew up in Argentina is of jewish origin. In his youth he was surrounded by an older generation that spoke yiddish. But later he drifted away from his jewish roots. Only much later his jewish roots came back in his thoughts. “And one day I asked myself another question: what would the Jewish music have become if the Shoa — the Holocaust — had not taken place?” We will never know of course. But with this project Nisenson gives in fact his answer to this question by giving room to the jewish culture that is part of his biography.

It is not the kind of project that tries to reconstruct as pure as possible the ‘original’ klezmer music, whatever that may be. Nisenson let his jewish motives loosely interfere with other musical traditions that formed Nisenson. With a guest on bandéneon, Denis Plante, it is evident that he also gives room to his Argentinean background. In Paspire his Argentinean roots dominate and the beautiful duet between sax and bandonéon bring that old record by Astor Piazzola and Gerry Mulligan to my mind. Chanson de rue #6 is opened with a Bo Diddly like riff, stating that also rock and roll is a relevant tradition for Nisenson. In the last track — but also in others — Nisenson tries to play like in the typical manner of jewish clarinetplayers, making clear that is above all that Nisenson wants to speak with a jewish voice on this satisfying record. Satisfying because he gives not a boring reproduction of klezmer music, but because he proves that klezmer ingredients mixed with other influences result in interesting and vivid music that appeal to many.

… he proves that klezmer ingredients mixed with other influences result in interesting and vivid music that appeal to many.

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