‘Visionary’ klezmer, bluegrass virtuoso to perform in Caldwell

‘Visionary’ klezmer, bluegrass virtuoso to perform in Caldwell

The Andy Statman Trio — playing a potent mix of klezmer, hasidic, jazz, and bluegrass music — will perform in concert at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell on Saturday evening, Feb. 10.

Statman — called “one of the most important Jewish creative artists of the postwar era” by the Jerusalem Post and “an American visionary” by The New Yorker — is a Grammy nominee and member of the vanguard of both Jewish music and bluegrass. In 2012, he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, by the National Endowment for the Arts, which said that Statman’s music “expands the boundaries of traditional and improvisational forms.”

A clarinet and mandolin virtuoso, Statman was one of the most important leaders of the klezmer revival of the late ’70s, later moving into the realm of hasidic nigunim, spiritual melodies — all contributing to his profound impact on Jewish music.

Statman was born in Queens into a family steeped in multiple musical genres. His mother came from a line of cantors tracing back to 18th-century Poland. Members of Statman’s extended family were prominent composers, musicians, and entertainers, spanning vaudeville, the Broadway stage, and the movies.

He started playing bluegrass when he was 12 and through his late teenage years played saxophone in jazz, funk, rock, and blues bands. Statman also studied and played Greek, Albanian, and Azerbaijani music. 

Statman has appeared on more than 100 recordings and has performed with, among others, Itzhak Perlman, Bob Dylan, and the Grateful Dead. 

The Andy Statman Trio, which includes bassist Jim Whitney and percussionist Larry Eagle, regularly plays at Darech Amuno Synagogue in New York’s Greenwich Village.

The Agudath Israel concert will begin at 8:30 p.m.; desserts will be served at 7:45.

Tickets in advance cost $25, $15 for age 20 and under, $40 at the door. Visit tinyurl.com/CAIStatman.

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