Art Bailey: Pianist, Accordionist, Composer, & Arranger

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"Branch from the Tree"

"Branch from the Tree" by Art Bailey's Orkestra Popilar


  • Art Bailey, accordion
  • Brandon Seabrook, mandolin
  • Jim Guttmann, bass
  • Jake Shulman-Ment, violin
  • Jeremy Brown, violin


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Reviews for Branch from the Tree

From George Robinson of the Jewish Week:
" Excellent...the band cooks nicely." Four out of five stars. (full review)

From Ari Davidow of
" This week brought a long-sought CD from Art Bailey's Orkestra Popilar. The band features Klezmer Conservatory Band accordion player Art Bailey as well as KCB bassist Jim Guttman. The ubiquitious plucked string wizard Brandon Seabrook (Naftule's Dream, Paul Brody), as well as relative youngsters Jake Shulman-Ment and Jeremy Brown on Violin. The goal is to recreate the ambience of the recordings by American tsimbalist Joseph Moscowitz—traditional klezmer and luscious, long sets. There is no tsimbl player credited, but I could swear that I hear just that on several numbers. In any event, Seabrook's mandolin and Bailey's accordion capture the feeling of Moscowitz' music, plus other traditional tunes and originals, in our time. What I've heard so far succeeds gracefully and delightfully. From the delightful lettering and graphic on the cover, the the music inside, this one is likely to stay on the changer for some time to come. [GRADE: A]"

About Art Bailey's Orkestra Popilar

Orkestra Popilar is a Jewish music ensemble led by accordionist and pianist Art Bailey and featuring bassist Jim Guttmann, violinists Jeremy Brown and Jake Shulman-Ment, and mandolinist Brandon Seabrook. The repertoire includes 20th century Jewish fiddle pieces, improvisation, newly composed music, and pieces from the klezmer and Eastern European repertoire.

The sound of the ensemble owes more to the urgent, fiery sound of Romanian string and cymbalom ensembles than to Jewish-American wedding bands of the 40s and 50s, and draws from the cross-pollinated Romanian/Jewish repertoire, as well as Bailey’s own original compositions. With the absence of the American dance band drum set and clarinet, the group takes klezmer music out of the realm of the archetypical 1950s klezmer sound most listeners are familiar with, and puts it in a setting that is reminiscent of an even earlier time in the recorded history of Jewish music. The result is fresh, unique, and thoroughly engaging.

The idea to form the group initially was inspired by the recordings of Joseph Moskowitz, the Romanian cymbalom master who settled in New York City around 1913 and was owner and operator of the Moskowitz Wine Cellar on Rivington Street in lower Manhattan. The wine cellar was a popular gathering spot for Romanian Jews, who were certainly drawn in by Moskowitz’s cymbolm playing, and the restaurant was patronized by some of the celebrities of the day including H.L. Mencken, Theodore Dreiser and Joseph Pulitzer. Not only did Moskowitz’s repertoire include what we know as klezmer, but it also included ragtime, parlor pieces, and European classical compositions, all filtered through his musical and life experiences, and expressed in a fundamentally Jewish way.

The group’s aim is to remain true to Moskowitz’s spirit of being willing to experiment with klezmer music forms, and at the same time trying to discover and retain the elements that give the music its Jewish identity.

Contact Information:
Art Bailey
20-68 35th Street
Astoria, NY 11105
718-777-0241 day/evenings
347-563-1886 cell

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All content and audio © 2006 Art Bailey, all rights reserved. Photography © 2006 Site design by Teresa Bailey.