The Arty Semite

How to Get a Klezmer Record in Amazon's Top Ten

By Ezra Glinter

  • Print
  • Share Share
United Feature Syndicate

The short answer? Get Nat Hentoff to review it in the Wall Street Journal.

In Saturday’s paper, the eminent jazz critic published an appreciation of “Cantors, Klezmorim and Crooners 1905-1953,” a three-disc box set of remastered archival Yiddish music that was released in late 2009.

Hentoff had only good things to say about the remastered tracks: “Because of the extraordinary skills of engineer Christopher King, all of them bring you into the very presence of these carriers of the Yiddish ethos. At home in the Boston ghetto, I had grown up with a few of these, but they didn’t sound as if the performers were actually in the room with me. They do now.”

Hentoff’s praise has not fallen on deaf ears. Following the publication of his review, “Cantors, Klezmorim and Crooners” shot up into Amazon’s top 10 music bestsellers, reaching No. 4 on Monday morning, sandwiched between James Taylor and Carole King at No. 3 and Sheryl Crow at No. 5. As of this writing, it has slid down slightly, hanging on at No. 8.

Along with track-by-track comments on the music, Hentoff reminiscenced about his own childhood encounters with Yiddish music, and how, in part, they helped lead him to jazz:

“As a Jewish kid growing up in then virulently anti-Semitic Boston—a place where Henry Brooks Adams, grandson of John Quincy Adams, could say without censure that ‘snarling a weird Yiddish … the Jew makes me creep’—I got a kick out of defiantly playing this music at a proud volume.”

Read Hentoff’s review here, and my earlier piece on “Cantors, Klezmorim and Crooners” for the Forward here.

h/t Variety Soundcheck


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yiddish, Wall Street Journal, Nat Hentoff, Cantors Klezmorim and Crooners, Boston, Amazon

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.