There are many modern Klezmer bands working today - Klezmer being one of the earliest "fusion" musics, an amalgamation of early jazz and East European Hebraic melodies & rhythms - each with their own spin on the music. Some accent the jazz side of the equation, others are more reverential to the "old country traditions" - but I feel Klezperanto! is not only a "happy medium," but one of the best (if not THE best) bands out there today. They don't treat the "old country" influences like ancient parchment that needs to be kept in an airless case in a museum somewhere. The solos are unreservedly HOT, especially the mercurial Ilene Stahl, whose clarinet can condense a century of longing in a single solo, then wail the blues like Sidney Bechet.
Not to slight the hearty, Roswell Rudd-like tromboning of Mark Hamilton nor the judiciously powerhouse drumming of Grant Smith, either - Klezperanto! play superbly as an ensemble, not just a collection of soloists. Toss in some cumbia, rock, samba, zydeco, swing and New Orleans second-line rhythms into the mix, and besides showing you a good time, this crew reaffirms that klezmer - or any other viable musical form, for that matter - can not & should not exist in a vacuum to satisfy some smug notion of "purity." Leave any preconceptions at the door - this disc is a party just WAITING to happen.