Don Byron - Plays the Music of Mickey Katz

No one recognized the manic possibilities of klezmer more than clarinetist Mickey Katz, whose 1945-47 tenure with Spike Jones spawned a comedy band that launched such funny travesties as the Yiddish cowpoke ditty "Haim Afen Range" or the Jewish-Hawaiian "Mechaye War Chant." Katz used humor to expand the musical boundaries of klezmer, thrusting it into the laps of World War II mainstream American at a time when Yiddish was identified as a victim's language and most Jewish music looked backward in time because the post-Holocaust present was intolerable. Playing Katz's songs demands prodigious chops, hence the attraction of Katz to molecule-splitting clarinetist Don Byron, who demonstrates nerve presenting Katz the monologist as the equal of Katz the composer. In sum, convoluted, kaleidescopic silliness topped with Byron's usual dazzling self.

01. Prologue …shed no tears before the rain…
02. Frailach Jamboree
03. Haim Afen Range (Home on the Range)
04. Mamaliege Dance
05. Sweet and Gentle
06. Litvak Square Dance
07. C'est Si Bon
08. Trombonik Tanz
09. Bar Mitzvah Special
10. Dreidel Song
11. Seder Dance
12. Paisach in Portugal
13. Berele's Sherele
14. Mechaye War Chant
15. Kiss of Meyer
16. Epilogue Tears
17. Wedding Dance