music | MishMash: East of Odessa

Purim is coming up in a few days and I was reminded of a voyage I took 6 years ago to the newly opened Grande Bibliotheque Nationale in Montreal when the divine hand of God led me to the world music section. I was guided straight towards the klezmer row where my fingers flipped to a magical album called East of Odessa, West of Palestine by a Texas band called The Austin Klezmorim.This obscure album delivers solid songs, guaranteed to rouse anyone who has the pleasure of being in the room, but the real gem is Big Megillah, an 8-minute cool jazz recitation of the story of Purim played over a groovy, walking bass line.  We learn of villain jive-cat Hey-Man and the irresistible Ess-ta with her “cool curves and dark eyes and the groovy way she dug the beauty and hipness of life.”  The whole megillah, as it were,  rolls out with trumpet solos and finger snaps. Ya dig?
The best thing to do is check out the music review from 1995. It all seems quite obscure without the liner notes in my hand.  East of Odessa where are you now?  This seems like a case for some klezmer detective or Phd student with a wealthy benefactor.Anyway, it’s good stuff and a great toss-back when someone forwards you a video of hamentaschen breakdancing or something.  Get a sneak peak here.

Ok, have fun.  It’s not everyday you’re treated to the story of the Jews once again overcoming destruction-jazz style.


MishMash is BJ Loomer’s semi-regular blog featuring random thoughts, partial impressions and musical preoccupations.