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Little Princess


Little Princess
Released: 2009

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Notes on Nifty

Naftule Brandwein, the "King of the klezmer clarinet" landed in New York City by of Istanbul in 1908, and set about providing a soundtrack to the boisterous life of the newly arrived immigrant community of the Lower East Side. With an eclectic style combining Jewish, gypsy and oriental flavors, Naftule's music reflected his roots in Galicia, a musical crossroads east of the Carpathian Mountains in what is now Ukraine. He made a handful of recordings in the 1920's that have become a goldmine for klezmer musicians.

Much has been said about his legendary antics, performing in an Uncle Sam costume wrapped in electric lights, playing with his back to the audience to conceal his fingerings, sporting a neon sign draped around his neck that flashed his name, and playing for gangsters, although it's hard to imagine any significant musician in 1920's Manhattan not playing for gangsters at one time or another. You might say Naftule was the original downtown artist. This CD is a celebration and exploration of his music from a contemporary perspective. If you're not already familiar with Naftule Brandwein I hope you will listen to his original recordings and compare them to our interpretations.

It is once again my humble pleasure to collaborate with Greg Cohen and Cyro Baptista, two of the biggest hearts and biggest ears in the music biz. A big thanks to Greg and Cyro for great playing, generous ideas and giving it everything at the end of a busy cycle of sessions and gigs.
- Tim Sparks

Little Princess is for Maddie, Kayla, Cassandra and Ashley

This CD is dedicated to my friend Mary Ann O'Dougherty 1953-2009

Recorded February 18, 2009 at EastSide Sound, NYC

Thanks to Marc Urselli, a brilliant engineer and excellent host, Kazunori Sugiyama, for his ears in the mixdown, Chyrll Sparks, love, support, back rubs, My friends at Riad Miski in Marrakech where this all came together, Ari Davidov and Mordecai Spector, for help with translations and general good spirits, Charlie Hoffman, for making the wonderful guitar used on this recording, Duck Baker, for encouragement and jokes. Most of all to John Zorn for challenging me and inspiring this work.

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