THE KLEZMER resurgence in America has gathered so much steam that we now have the revival's first supergroup. The four members of Brave Old World have all played with the top bands in American klezmer, the Yiddish folk-jazz music that was transplanted from East European shtetls to North American ghettos early in this century. Singer-fiddler Michael Alpert once played with Kapelye, accordionist Alan Bern played with Kapelye and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, clarinetist Joel Rubin also played with the Klezmer Conservatory Band and bassist-percussionist Stuart Brotman produced Klezmorim's "Metropolis" album.
As Brave Old World, the four have recorded "Klezmer Music," which is the best possible introduction to this dizzying music, which sounds like a cross between a New Orleans dixieland band, an old-timey Appalachian string band and a Brecht-Weill theater band. Alpert sings only in Yiddish, but his strong, vibrato-heavy tenor has a theatrical forcefulness whether he's singing about the Chernobyl disaster, the sinking of the Titanic or the joys of drinking with friends. On the four instrumental numbers Rubin leads the way with his laughing, squealing clarinet solos. Every player is a virtuoso, and the whole album swings convincingly.
BRAVE OLD WORLD -- "Klezmer Music" (Flying Fish). Appearing Saturday at the Barns of Wolf Trap. To hear a Sound Bite from this album, call 202/334-9000 and press 8109.