from "Klezmer Music: The First One Thousand Years." by Henry Sapoznik, pg. 87-108
Edited by Kip Lornell and Anne K. Rasmussen
1950, New York City. The Abe Ellstein Orchestra with Dave Tarras.
There's more than a little irony in the title "square dance" - with its invocation of rustic and rough hewn rural dancing - as it does not prepare the listener for this performance: the magnetic and elegant sound of Yiddish music master Dave Tarras at the height of his powers. Tarras is paired with longtime bandleader Abe Ellstein who composed/arranged for and accompanied every major Yiddish performer of the era. Here, he has created a piece in Tarras' style with a lush and arresting arrangement highlighting the clarinetist's unique stylistic approach and tonal color while clearly demonstrating Ellstein's savvy with big band and popular sounds and harmonizations. The "Square Dance" might have been a gag. The music was not.