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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

AARON ALEXANDER

By Tom Jackson
Published September 23, 2005

Midrash Mish Mosh
Tzadik

New York drummer Alexander and his cohorts run the gamut of musical styles, all with a switched-on klezmer sensibility, from amphetamine opener “Kleyzmish Moshpit” (a teenaged Alexander used to play in Seattle punk bands) to the rousing ensemble choruses of “Khosn Kalleh Haskalah.” At times the mish mosh might be something of a non-jazzer’s nightmare,with decent portions of guitar strangeness from Brad Shepik, but if you’re up for it there’s a pleasingly off-kilter, dissonant complexity to the improvisation. More introspective is “Der Rumskisker Maggid,” dedicated to Alexander’s great great great (count ’em) grandfather, an itinerant preacher in Lithuania. It’s a track which manages to sound like a folk song and a Downtown wigout at more or less the same time. Midrash Mish Mosh is an energizing, carnivalesque, devil-take-the-hindmost disc of freewheeling modern jazz.