Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

December 23–30, 1999

critic pick|roots

Jewish Christmas

If it’s got a reed, Kenny Ulansey can play it. Before anyone had heard of Kenny G, Kenny U was popping up everywhere on soprano sax — from an eight-year stint with Relache to guest appearances with traveling folk artists at the Cherry Tree.

Ulansey recalls his initiation into Klezmer as a baptism of fire. After his wedding band, PostHip (a.k.a. the Ken Ulansey Ensemble) butchered the horas, he met Hankus Netsky of the Klezmer Conservatory Band. Netsky steered Ulansey toward KlezCamp, where the best teach the novices in one intense week over the winter holidays. Since then Ulansey has always had a Klezmer band, sometimes known as Klez Night Out, as billed in their second annual Klezmass gig at the Sedgwick. With an all-star lineup, including Dan Kleiman on keyboard, Phyllis Chapell on vocals and guitar, Stan Slotter on trumpet and flute, Boyz II Men percussionist Jim Hamilton and Ray Charles/Pat Martino alum Steve Beskrone on bass. Expect anything and everything, from very danceable traditional tunes to out experimental stuff.

In deference to the Sabbath, a longer-standing holiday alternative, Being Jewish at Christmas, is scheduled for the day after Christmas at the National Museum of American Jewish History. The entertainment is family styled and priced ($3 for anyone over 5 who isn’t a museum member, refreshments and activities included). Magician Michael Bonner will teach the story of Hanukkah through comedy, sleight of hand and audience participation. More laughter will come from the uproarious Segal Puppet Theater, with the notorious Ben Laden playing accordion and straight man. The Sally Mitlas Ensemble will also play Klezmer, Israeli and Sephardic tunes.

Mary Armstrong

Klezmass, Sat., Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m., (preceded by buffet dinner, $12.50; reserve by Dec. 20) and 9 p.m., Sedgwick Cultural Center, 7137 Germantown Ave, 215-248-9229, Concert tickets are $15 and $18. Being Jewish at Christmas, Sun., Dec. 26, noon to 4 p.m., National Museum of American Jewish History, 55 N. Fifth St., 215-923-3811

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