I heard Statman at Hill Auditorium ten years ago when he came here as part of the klezmer extravaganza In the Fiddler's House, featuring Itzhak Perlman. In an evening filled with mostly up-tempo, flashy, dance melodies, what I remember most vividly is Statman and Perlman's simple, spare duet on "Shalom Aleichem," a traditional song often sung in Jewish homes before the Friday night meal. Their instrumental rendition was so achingly exquisite that it made me weep. During the long and heartfelt ovation that followed, I could see many other people wiping their eyes.
Statman, who performs at the Ark on Monday, March 31, offers far more than merely his dazzling virtuosity, his daring improvisations, and the gorgeous liquid tone he draws from both his instruments. By tapping into his own deep spiritual roots and expressing them through his music, he enables each of us to connect to what is most true in our own unique heritage.
[Review published March 2008]