Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Andy Statman Quartet: The Hidden Light [Sony, 1998]
To devotees of machine-age tempos, old-time klezmer often sounds more devotional than celebratory to those comfortable with machine-age tempos, and rather than being coy about this commercial inconvenience, the mandolin master turned clarinet pro embraces it. The bio's "spiritual jazz" IDs the result aptly enough, except that any Jew who feels like one will recognize its provenance at 50 paces, one way it avoids the New Age vagueness you rightly fear. Those who don't feel like Jews will be impressed enough that something so solemn can be so light--and glad that Statman isn't above reprising traditional tunes or picking up his sharpest axe. A-