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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Andy Statman/David Grisman

By John Kuhlman
Published March 30, 2007

New Shabbos Waltz
Acoustic Disc

A follow-up to their 1995 collaboration The Songs Of Our Fathers, New Shabbos Waltz is another elegant, loving examination of traditional Jewish music, this time concentrating on pieces related to the Sabbath. Unlike other contemporary interpreters of Jewish music, Statman (clarinet/mandolin) and Grisman (mandolin/banjo) avoid ramping up the tempos of the pieces, preferring to go the opposite direction, and the bittersweet soulfulness of the chosen melodies is given a solemn but sympathetic space to unfold. The title song gains gentle country waltz rhythms; the reading of “I Believe” (composed by Rabbi Fastag in a boxcar on his way to the Treblinka concentration camp) is stately and gentle; and “Jerusalem, Your City” becomes a slow, sweet processional. “Through melody, one may cleave to God without being encumbered by an external spiritual garment,” Rabbi Shmuel of Sochatchov is quoted in the liner notes, and Statman and Grisman make his words come to life here.