Profile - Maxwell Street Klezmer Band


Photo of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
All photos and Maxwell Street Logo provided by/used with permission of the artists
 Artist: Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
 Formed: 1983 in Tippo, MS, USA
 Active: 1983 onward
 Group Members: Lori Lippitz (founder/bandleader/vocals), Alex Koffman (arranger, musical director, violin), Kimber Leigh Nussbaum, Bibi Marcell, Donald Jacobs, Shelley Yoelin, Jeff Jeziorski, Ralph Wilder, Gail Mangurten, Audrey Morrison, Ivo Braun, Mark Ponarovsky, Jim Cox, Sam Margolis (z"l), Rich Armandi, Irina Kaufman, David Rothstein, Peter Schifrin
 Genre/s: World | Jewish | Trad.
 Sub-Genre/s: Klezmer, Big Band Klezmer, Yiddish
 Date Info First Pub'd: 2003/02/20
 Based: Chicago, IL, USA
   Contact: email
   Web Site:

Purchasing Info

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band Logo
Photo of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
  Maxwell Street Klezmer Band

Photo of Bandleader Lori Lippitz & Family
Bandleader Lori Lippitz and her other family

Founded in 1983, Maxwell Street Klezmer Band was among the first wave of bands to emerge out of the klezmer revival of the late 1970s/early 80s. They were also one of the first klezmer bands to emerge in the American Midwest.

Maxwell Street are a big band in the tradition of the Yiddishe Swing Bands of the 1920s/30s and have successfully updated the genre into the 21st century, with a flexible and highly eclectic yet easily identifiable style and sound all their own. As such, Maxwell Street have few equals if any. The nearest comparison that might be drawn might perhaps be with the Klezmer Conservatory Band - both are essentially Big Bands, and both have seen a fair number of personnel changes over the years. However, Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, under bandleader/founder and vocalist Lori Lippitz and violinist, arranger and musical director Alex Koffman, not only survived these personnel changes but grew with them. The band's sheer high energy, outstanding musicianship, boundless enthusiasm and huge enjoyment of what they're doing are complemented in equal measure by great warmth and humour as well as depth and sensitivity. All these qualities are abundantly evident not only in their live performances but even on their recordings as they manage to transcend the sterility of the recording medium. An air of fun and enjoyment pervades all.

Maxwell Street's eclecticism embraces a blend of traditional klezmer tunes, Yiddish folk songs, Yiddish theatre and cabaret song including 'Ghetto Tango' of the ghettos and concentration camps of the Shoah, jazzy Yiddish pop music from the 1930s to 1950s including Yiddish Swing, and even touches of Dixieland and traditional blues. With their latest album, Old Roots New World, Maxwell Street extended this eclecticism even much further still with extended excursions into the realm of classical music, and musically this crossover is not only highly delightful but an unqualified success. The band's range and versatility almost defy comprehension and, delightfully, make it virtually impossible to pigeon-hole them and their music into convenient genre classifications. Maxwell Street could be equally at home in a concert featuring klezmer and Yiddish music, or swing, or broadly contemporary popular music, or world fusion, or modern classical, or... Well, you get the idea.

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band have toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Israel, and continue to maintain a busy concert schedule. They have appeared on PBS television in the US and have recorded four albums, appeared on a fifth, and also a cassette single. Their two most recent albums have been on the Shanachie label.

The band's current full line-up numbers seventeen. Sadly, Maxwell Street's trombonist of some fourteen years, Sam Margolis, passed away in late 2001 shortly after recording for the band's latest album finished. He is deeply missed by his family, the band, and indeed all who knew him or even knew of him.

© 2003 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore

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Album Cover - Eight Nights Of Joy
Eight Nights Of Joy

Album Cover - Maxwell Street Days
  Maxwell Street Days

Album Cover - You Should Be So Lucky
You Should Be So Lucky!  
 Album Cover - Old Roots New World
Old Roots New World



1985 Maxwell Street Days (Global Village)

???? Maxwell Street Wedding (Global Village)

1996 You Should Be So Lucky! (Shanachie)

2000 Sweet Early Years (orig. released 1992)

2002 Old Roots New World (Shanachie)

2008 Eight Nights Of Joy (Rabbi Joe Black With The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band) (Sounds Write Prod.)



1997 The Matzorena (cassette single)

Appears on

1994 Jiddisches Lied & Klezmer 4th Internationales Festival (European recording)

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Album Cover - Sweet Early Years
Sweet Early Years

Other Info


Purchasing Info:

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band's recordings can be purchased:
Direct from the band

From Jewish Music Distribution JMD UK

From Hatikvah Music International (US)

From better CD stores and online sources such as Amazon etc.

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