Indra Buraczewska by Savannah Photographic
The double bass has been very important in klezmer music for a long time. In eastern Europe string bass players were essential in providing a good rhythmic fundament for the ensemble, yet the bottom of the rung for payment - so much so that (allegedly) they were sometimes paid in alcohol rather than cash.
Bass players bowed their instruments, using heavy short strokes with 'front' so that they cut through the band.
Nowadays, you find virtuoso double bassists in klezmer bands who sometimes even play melodies!
Yiddish: bas or verbl
Klezmer double bass players in the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries included:
USA Hymie Millrad, Hymie Psevdonis, Mac Chopnick
Klezmer double bass players in the later 20th century and today include:
Finland Ilkka Heinonen
Germany Thomas Fritze
Latvia Indra Buraczewska
Netherlands "Jet" Henriette Elisabeth Stevens
Russia Paul Tkachenko (also tuba)
UK Julia Doyle, Paul Moylan, Rupert Gillett
USA Benjy Fox-Rosen, Jim Gutmann, Jordan Sand, Mark Rubin (also tuba), Paul Morrissett (also tsimbl), Stu Brotman (also cello), Zoe Guigueno