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Dave Tarras

Biography

Russian-born clarinetist Dave Tarras was one of the giants of Klezmer. Immigrating to America in the early 1920s, he recorded widely over the ensuing decades both as a leader and as a soloist with orchestras led by Abe Schwartz, Joseph Cherniavsky and many others. Just as his horn was capable of expressing the widest range of emotions, his recordings include everything from somber traditionals to novelty tunes. He also opened himself to the influences of Swing and Big Band music, performing with groups such as the aptly named Yiddish Swingtette (Some referred to Tarras as the "Jewish Benny Goodman," an odd title as Goodman was also Jewish). By the time of his death in the late 1980s, his influence was widely cited among the younger generation of Klezmer revivalists.
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