David Krakauer assembled an international all-star cast of high-octane musicians for his newest band, Mazel Tov Cocktail Party. The project was conceived and developed with his principal collaborator â€“ pianist-composer Kathleen Tagg â€“ in multiple extended Hill and Hollow Music residencies during the pandemic. The ensemble features Krakauer on clarinet, Tagg on keys and cello, Sarah MK on vocals and rap, Yoshie Fruchter on guitar and oud, Jerome Harris on bass and vocals, and Martin Shamoonpour on daf (Middle Eastern hand-drum) and jaw harp. Additionally, layered beats produced by Jeremy Flower and Selwa Abd (aka Bergsonist) are integral to the sound of the band.
Mazel Tov Cocktail Party gave two sensational premiere performances July 17-18: at Plattsburghâ€™s City Stage, as part of the Curbside at Harborside drive-in concert series; and at Weatherwatch Farm in Saranac, as part of the Hill and Hollow Music summer lawn concert series. The program included contemporary world-music settings by Krakauer and Tagg of the traditional dance forms of polka, square dance, hornpipe, calypso, and hora â€“ infused with klezmer, jazz, rock, and funk. Insane! There were some exquisite quiet moments, too, with transparent renditions of Poor Wayfaring Stranger and Street Singer (Gasn Nign). The bandâ€˜s next move is into the recording studio to lay this program down and produce a new CD, which will be released in October 2021. Mazel Tov!