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American KlezmerIts Roots and Offshoots$
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Mark Slobin

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520227170

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520227170.001.0001

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“All My Life a Musician”

“All My Life a Musician”

Ben Bazyler, A European Klezmer In America

(p.73) Chapter 5 “All My Life a Musician”
American Klezmer

Mark Solbin

University of California Press

The klezmer tradition suffered major discontinuity after World War II, owing to the near destruction of eastern European Jewry in the Holocaust and to the changes wrought by assimilation and acculturation on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as to the increasing importance of Israeli culture in shaping Jewish cultural identity worldwide. As a result, postwar musicians and scholars pursuing the study of klezmer music have mainly been compelled to turn to commercial recordings of the music—in large part, 78 rpm records made during the first four decades of this century—as a primary aural source, rather than to contemporary practitioners. In some cases, however, students of the genre in North America, Israel, and eastern Europe have been fortunate to make the acquaintance of both immigrant and native-born exponents of the tradition in various stages of its contemporary development. As a researcher of traditional eastern European Jewish music and dance as well as a professional musician active in the klezmer revitalization, the author conducted in-depth interviews with Ben Bazyler between 1984 and 1990, exploring many aspects of his life and work. This chapter focuses on Bazyler's life story and its significance.

Keywords:   klezmer, Ben Bazyler, Jewish musicians

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