Art Works Blog

Art Works Podcast: Andy Statman, Part Two

This week's podcast is the second part of our interview with Klezmer clarinetist, Mandolin-player, composer, and 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellow, Andy Statman. While Statman is a musician who wears many hats brilliantly, he was honored with a National Heritage Award primarily for his work in Klezmer music. Klezmer is the traditional instrumental music of Eastern European Jews: Statman defines it as "Hassidic vocal music played instrumentally." Statman is not only a Klezmer musician of the first rank, he is also one of the people credited for its revival.

But as we learned in last week's podcast, it's impossible to put Statman in any neat musical box. He began his musical career playing bluegrass mandolin and followed that with explorations into jazz and the saxophone. Never content to sit still musically, Statman took up the clarinet and studied Greek, Albanian, and Azerbaijani music. Yet, Statman doesn't drop one musical style for another. He builds upon them, creating a musicality that is distinctly his own. For example, after revitaling Klezmer with his path-breaking album Jewish Klezmer Music, he released Flatbush Waltz, a mandolin masterpiece of jazz improvisations and ethnically inspired original compositions.


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