Sam heads back to Borscht Belt with triple album set

IT has been more than 40 years since the dramatic rise and fall of the famous Borscht Belt region, colloquially termed the Jewish Alps, in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.

California-born clarinettist Sam Sadigursky is bringing the area back to life with the his latest recording project The Solomon Diaries.

Together with accordionist Nathan Koci, they have recorded a three-CD set featuring 28 tracks.

But how did he find the inspiration to celebrate a time forgotten and much maligned in American cultural and Jewish history?

“My son’s school is in a synagogue and one day, when they were gracious enough to let me practice, I found myself in the library and spotted a book called The Borscht Belt by Marisa Scheinfeld,” explained Sam, who appeared on Broadway as the onstage clarinettist in The Band’s Visit.

“Containing a mixture of her pictures, historical ones and contemporary ones, it displayed the ruins of the place, which was so suddenly abandoned after years of success.

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