Michael Winograd, a leading clarinetist in Klezmer music, stretches the boundaries of the timeless Jewish style on his latest recording, Storm Game. During the 13 selections, Winograd explores modern jazz, contemporary classical, European folk music and the avant-garde while staying true to his roots in Klezmer. Storm Game features Winograd and his regular sidemen, accordionist Patrick Farrell and bassist Benjy Fox-Rosen, joined by a pair of Klezmer giants (violinist Deborah Strauss and Joshua Horowitz on Tsimbl), the talented Israeli jazz pianist Anat Fort, singer Judith Berkson, and two guest percussionists.
The inspiring company and the wide variety of material result in some of Michael Winograd's most inventive playing. There are many highlights to be heard throughout the varied program. "Passages" is particularly playful, the classical-oriented "Prospect" is distinguished and ceremonial, and "Storm," a showcase for Winograd's virtuosic clarinet, is quite danceable.
Pianist Fort is in the spotlight on "Interruption," Farrell's accordion is logically heard throughout his own "Accordion," and Judith Berkson sings the haunting "Specter" and the pro-peace original "Who?" Some of the songs, such as "Skotshne," sound like traditional Klezmer pieces but are actually newly composed while others find Winograd pushing a bit beyond Klezmer. While the selections on Storm Game cover much musical ground and can stand individually by themselves, the program as a whole forms a unified suite, with one selection leading logically to the next. It is the latest accomplishment in the career of Michael Winograd.
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