The Cracow Klezmer Band

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The Cracow Klezmer Band was a Polish jazz quartet formed by accordionist and composer Jarosław Bester in 1997 and recorded for Tzadik Records. Its sound was different from what most people consider to be klezmer — instead of danceable versions of traditional Yiddish songs, and free-form fantasies and laments, the Cracow Klezmer Band instead played often dark and brooding but soulful and dynamic original virtuoso compositions in the klezmer form. Some songs could be considered dance pieces, but there were none of the traditional Bulgars, Freylekhs or Horas.

They also imitated non-musical sounds using their instruments — for example, the sound of a creaking ship or a distant crying bird; this actually has a long tradition in klezmer music.

In January 2007, The Cracow Klezmer Band stopped functioning and was replaced by a new band, the Bester Quartet, with the same line-up.


The Cracow Klezmer Band consisted of four jazz members:


The Cracow Klezmer Band released albums on John Zorn's Tzadik record label, with its mandate of "Radical Jewish Culture."

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