As part of the flourishing Jewish Alternative Movement, the reworkings of klezmer, Hasidic and other Eastern European-based musics found on "Klezmer Festival 1998 -- Live at the Knitting Factory" could knock the yarmulke off any rabbi's head. Recorded live at the legendary Knitting Factory jazz club in New York City last December, the music created by some of the finest players in the downtown Manhattan avant-jazz scene is so diverse and intriguing that even gentiles can enjoy it.
Trumpeter Frank London performs with Hasidic New Wave and Psychedelicatessan, two bands that perform liberal interpretations of traditional Jewish medleys as well as original modern compositions. "Aimless Path" from sextet Naftuli's Dream sounds like a bar mitzvah band scoring the soundtrack to Alice in Wonderland. Klezmokum features Greek, Jewish and Romanian folk music with vocals by Patricia Beysons. Gary Lucas closes the CD with a peppy, electric-guitar version of "Adir Hu/Rock of Ages Medley," songs he recollects from his Hebrew school days.