For nearly a thousand years, klezmer music had been part of the celebration of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Immigrants brought it to America, where it intersected with the Yiddish theatre and jazz. Yet klezmer was virtually extinct by the 1970s when some young musicians went looking for their cultural origins in the vast American musical landscape. Tracking two groups of brilliant young musicians, Kapelye and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and containing rare footage of the elder immigrant musicians they learned from, "A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden" is the first film to document the klezmer revival. Originally released in 1987 and re-released in 2021, it tells the story of 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants restoring their cultural legacy: a very American story.
“The discovery of klezmer is comparable to the uncovering of the tomb at Tutankhamen.”
“…these young musicians are trying to recapture much more than just the tunes of a bygone time; they are after nothing less elusive than the spirit of a destroyed world.”
“A revelatory musical documentary…it suggests an epic theme – how it feels to see yourself in an earlier generation.”
“Music of joy and wit in this fine, exuberant and somehow very touching movie.”