Raves & Testimonials

Studs Terkel

Radio network personality and Pulitzer Prize-winning author

"The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band...a joyous celebration of music that was and, fortunately, still is."


Jan Schakowsky

9th District, Illinois U.S. Congress, Washington D.C.

"Dear Lori: Thank you for one of the very best parties I've ever been to. Your band is the best!" (Inauguration Ball, Evanston, IL)


Theodore Bikel

Actor, Singer, "Tevye" in Broadway's Fiddler on the Roof

"These are fine musicians...they care about the music. And when they care--I care."


Cantor Jesse Holzer
Jacksonville Jewish Center, Jacksonville, FL

"Maxwell Street Klezmer Band brought the highest level of energy and musicianship, captivating the audience with their spirit and sound. You could see the gratitude on the faces of everyone in the room."

Rabbi Gary Klein

Temple Ahavat Shalom, Palm Harbor, FL

"The Whole Megillah (click this link!) with Charles Troy and the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band was one of the best events that has ever taken place in our Temple. It was loving, warm, exciting, inspiring and educational. It was also filled with Jewish feeling. The Whole Megillah far exceeded my expectations.”

John von Rhein, Music Critic

Chicago Tribune, May 13, 2014

"It was wonderful to hear Chicago's Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and its music director, the terrific fiddle player Alex Koffman, cut loose so exuberantly in the rhapsody. Both Levinson pieces brought to mind the whirling folk rhythms of Georges Enescu's "Romanian Rhapsody No. 1," which, under Chen's spirited direction, brought the audience to its feet, cheering its approval."

Jeff Huberman

Dean, Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois

Regarding March 9, 2009 concert for Chabad House, Peoria:
"The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band just might be the absolute best klezmer band in the world. When they played in Peoria, they drew a capacity crowd of foot-stomping, cheering, standing-ovation, dancing-in-the-aisle exuberant fans. And what fans! Young, old, in-between, high-school students, college students, and other musicians--of every color, creed, and religion.

The Jews in the audience were clearly in their element, loving every traditional song the Band offered. And the gentiles in the crowd were instantly converted to the cause by the high spirited, brilliant music that is a convergence of European melodies, jazz rhythms, and Dixieland energy.

When the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band performs, they don't just play. They dance, they talk, they joke, and they celebrate right along with the audience. We can't wait to have them back again. It doesn't get any better than this!"

Claudia Schuller

A review from Fuerther Nachricten (Germany), March 16, 2007

Click here for original in German (pdf)

"At first glance, Klezmer dance look as if it would be easy to dance: Alternately moving one foot forward, lifting one's arms, linking arms with one's neighbor, or spinning round - the reality being, however, that the moves are tricky. One quickly gets confused in the surging crowd that meanders through the room like a tapeworm, stopping suddenly and then regrouping in circles. For a beginner, it is easy enough to get lost.

But Steven Weintraub, the world's best dance master for Eastern European Klezmer dances, is totally different: he skillfully guided the cheering crowd through the Kulturforum and created a buoyant atmosphere comparable to a Jewish wedding. After all, Klezmer is music made for dancing and celebrations; and when the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band from Chicago joins in, the result is a memorable evening. Two visitors commented during the intermission that, after the pop-music-influenced and jazzy Klezmer Festivals of the last years, this was great.

For Klezmer novices, the Americans in fact sounded "traditional." Their texts deal with the old days in the Eastern European "shtetl," with celebrations and amusing family incidents: a bride's resolute mother warns the future family of her daughter to treat her well because this young Jewish lady is not to be meddled with! The various guests of the wedding appear in a very funny pantomime ("Mazl Tov Dances") and the next topic is the world of Jewish immigrants during the American 20s and 50s. The sound becomes wild and Kimber Nussbaum dances and sings faster and faster.

By contrast, band leader Lori Lippitz casts a spell on the audience with her intimate singing and understated presence. Violinist Alex Koffman stands out among the excellent musicians of the band. The enchanted audience embraced the lively/upbeat performance with their enthusiastic applause and clapping along, and at the end of the night it was hard part company with these engaging artists."

Amanda Rotter

Wiener Konzerthaus, Vienna

"...The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band from Chicago gave a fabulous concert at the sold out Mozart-Saal of the Wiener Konzerthaus...The concert was a perfect combination of traditional Klezmer music and Jewish-American Jazz and dance music from the 1930's - 1950's, also containing film music and theater songs...The performance was full of energy and humour...I can indeed recommend the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band to other venues all over the world."

James M. Fahey

Assistant Artistic Administrator, CSO, Chicago

"...On behalf of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to you for Maxwell Street Klezmer Band's participation in Day of Music...Almost 15,000 people attended...Your generosity was very much appreciated...and helped to make this day an extraordinary community experience."


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