Hailed as “The Benny Goodman of klezmer,” Dave Tarras is considered the most influential klezmer musician of the Twentieth Century. Scion of a musical family in Ternovke, Ukraine, Tarras played at weddings for Jews and non-Jews ? even playing in the Czarist army ? up to World War One. He immigrated to America and after a brief stint as a furrier, began to make a living with his clarinet. From 1925 until his death in 1989, Dave Tarras set the standard for klezmer musicianship and virtuosity. Even the great be-bop artists Charlie Parker and Miles Davis travelled to the Catskills to study the technique of this complex and compelling virtuoso.
Author Yale Strom spent months interviewing the people who knew Tarras best: his musical collaborators and family members. The first biography authorized by the Tarras family, this book includes newly discovered personal and historical facts about Dave Tarras and the world in which he lived and played, and priceless photographs from the family archives.
Twenty-eight of Tarras’ melodies as written by Tarras and discovered in his manuscripts are presented in arrangements for C and B-flat instruments. An essential book for anyone interested in klezmer or Jewish cultural history.