A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden

Video excerpts of a document from the EIJM’s archives

Released in 1987, the documentary A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden talks about the revival of klezmer music in the USA at the end of the 1970’s.


A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden was the first film to document the klezmer revival, tracing the efforts of two founding groups, Kapelye and Boston’s Klezmer Conservatory Band, to recover the lost history of klezmer music. For nearly a millennium, this vigorous and soulful music was part of the celebration of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. In the early decades of this century, the music took root in America. Klezmer musicians learned hundreds of tunes by ear and their ears were open to Gypsy, Ukrainian and Greek melodies of the old world, as well as to the new sounds of American jazz. Music born in Eastern Europe lived on in the imaginations of composers for New York’s Yiddish theater, men whose tunes entered the mainstream through such unlikely adapters as the Andrew Sisters. Eventually Klezmer went underground as its audience assimilated into mainstream American culture.

A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden is about musical process, taking klezmer tunes through transcription and rehearsal into performance. Lively, clever, and often humorous, this film contains rare footage of klezmer’s immigrant elder statesmen, now no longer alive - including Dave Tarras, Leon Schwartz, and Ben Gailing. - and their dynamic encounters with the younger musicians who have become Klezmer’s leading luminaries - Henry Sapoznik, Hankus Netsky, Michael Alpert, Judy Bressler, and the jazz musician Don Byron are all here in their early days.

Learn more on the film A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden
Read the article by Hervé Roten "Klezmer music: from the past to the present"


Film by: Michal Goldman
Produced by: Michal Goldman
Cinematographer: Boyd Estus; additional cinematography by Dyanna Taylor
Sound: Colin Macnab; additional sound recording by John Dildine
Editor: Michal Goldman
Funding: The National Endowment for the Arts/Folk Arts, the American Film Institute in association with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, the New Englan
Original Format: Film: 16mm
©1987, Michal Goldman
1 hr 15 mins, Color

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