About the Odessa Klezmer Band
The Odessa Klezmer Band, under the direction of Ed Goldberg, brings the joyous dance music of the Klezmorim (Jewish folk musicians) to mainstream America. The band has been in existence playing Klezmer music since 1984 celebrating the great variety and wealth of music heritage of Eastern Europe, Ladino, and Middle Eastern music, including polka and czardas!
The OKB has played numerous fairs, festivals, weddings, bar mitzvahs, concerts, and dance dates throughout the NJ-NY-PA area, including Gracie Mansion and City Hall for NYC Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, and a tour of Israel. They are regular performers at the Kutztown Folk Festival and the Lakewood Blue Claws minor league baseball FirstEnergy stadium.
In 2011, the OKB was honored to perform a number of combined concerts with the Amir Ensemble, a Persian group, to promote Peace through Music. They also performed for the production of Gypsy Fest, at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Long Branch, NJ.
The band received the 2009 Just Plain Folks second place award winner for Best Klezmer Album “Who Stole the Kishka?!”. JPF is a community of more than 51,500 songwriters, recording artists and music industry professionals that provides a network of cooperation and inclusion for musicians. JustPlainFolks.org
Meet the Band Members
Lead vocals, Accordion
Ed Goldberg leads the The Odessa Klezmer Band on accordion and vocals. He has performed at Carnegie Hall on four occasions and has made over 125 recordings of Polish, Ukrainian, Country, Israeli, and Klezmer dance music. Four of Ed's recordings have won Grammy Awards. Ed was brought up playing Eastern European and polka music in Elizabeth, NJ, and performed on the road for 25 years with the band led by Jimmy Sturr, a 14-time Grammy award winning polka artist.
In addition, Ed has played with polka stars Walt Wagner Polka Serenaders, Bernie Goydish, Jan Lewan, and many others. Ed retired from being a professor of Computer Sciences at TCNJ & Middlesex County College and as head of the New Brunswick Schools computer department.
Dennis has been playing trumpet for over 35 years and has worked with a variety of groups and combos. He continues to perform with various ethnic groups in the Polish, German and Klezmer styles. He is a regular performer with various big bands, local and distant. Classical brass and Dixieland music are performed with various groups and with his own group, Freedom Brass. A chubby guy with a lot of hot air, his sound is sweet and strong.
Clarinet, saxaphone, flute
Steve recently retired from the Trenton Public Schools after teaching music for 27 years.
He is currently the director of Ewing High School's award winning Blues Devils Jazz Band, as well as John Nobile's Summer Swing Orchestra and the classic rock band, The TEMPOraries.
Steve is a multi-instrumentalist, performing on all saxes, clarinet, flute, and keyboard with swing, rock, blues, ethnic, and jazz groups. In addition to playing, he arranges, composes and orchestrates for all of these groups. Steve and his wife, Debbie, live in Ewing, New Jersey with sons, Brian and Danny, both talented musicians.
Bob Mehlman ("Doctor Bob") recently retired from The College of New Jersey, where he was an English professor for nearly four decades, as well as a counseling psychologist. Although the uncle who taught him advised him not to play klezmer while he was training as a classical clarinetist, Bob's interest persisted through his time in an army band, the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, a stint playing Middle Eastern music for belly dancers, and performances as a musician with the Tomov, a Yugoslavian dance ensemble. His love for ethnic music and for the klezmer style and repertoire in particular continues to grow.
Joel has been banging on things since he's been in diapers (it's in his genes: his grandfather was a drummer during the "Big Band Era" ...) He's not sure why he likes to play drums - he just does ... Joel's wife Vicki thinks it's because playing the drums is "cool" and it get's him a lot of attention from the chicks (well - at least from Vicki and their daughter Danielle ...) He's studied music at the Haddonfield Conservancy of Music and The College of New Jersey.
Miriam has been singing and dancing since she was 3. An accomplished vocalist specializing in Klezmer, Hebrew, and Yiddish music, Miriam has an eclectic repertoire ranging from Irish ballads to musical theater. In addition to her performances with the Odessa Klezmer band, Miriam has recently appeared at The Minstrel in Morristown, NJ and Plays in the Park in Edison, NJ. In her spare time, she can be found on the dance floor doing swing, salsa, or Israeli folk dancing.
Joe is a public school music teacher by day, college professor once a week at dusk, and performer, composer, and arranger at night. A graduate of Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Joe lives his musical motto: "from Bach to punk rock." Literally performing drums and percussion for any and all occasions, Joe has performed with polka king Jan Levan, Indy Rock Singer Lisa Bouchelle, punk/hard core groups, cover bands, country bands, pit orchestras for high school musicals, and more. He also has his own solo album.
John is a long-time member of the band and plays
clarinet and saxophone. He played with the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C. and has played with numerous eastern European ethnic bands.
In loving memoriam....
This list of band members would not be complete without Barbara Goldberg, beloved wife, mother, friend, and the "heart" of the Odessa Klezmer Band.