Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
“Klezmer music is jazz music for Jewish people,” one person in the lobby proclaimed with a smile after seeing and hearing the Isle of Klezbos perform at Skidmore College last month.
Someone else leaving the building pointed out that this traditionally all-women outfit, “had a man (Dave Hofstra) playing the acoustic bass.”
Another person passing by found it interesting that, not so long ago, the six-piece group had graced the tiny stage at Caffe Lena as well as WAMC’s slightly larger theater, The Linda. “And now they were playing (to a larger audience) in Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall.”
The NYC-based Isle of Klezbos has come a long way since drummer Eve Sicular formed the ensemble back in 1998. The group has toured all over the world. Their music has been featured on international radio and TV programs, including Showtime’s “The L Word.” And they’ve done soundtrack work for films like “I Guess I’m Not Going to Get to Vegas.”
Rounding out the sextet at Skidmore College were vocalist extraordinaire Melissa Fogarty, trumpet and flugelhorn maven Pam Fleming, exemplary pianist-accordionist Shoko Nagai and saxophonist-clarinetist Debra Kreisberg.
Playing with passion and virtuosity, the band offered a repertoire was all across the board with everything from old-world Yiddish swing music to traditional-sounding originals.