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Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars
Di Shikere Kapelye
Piranha (www.piranha.de)

Tradition. Some musicians believe the way to authentically perform klezmer music is on vintage instruments using traditional arrangements that reflect the way the music was performed in the 19th century. Frank London does not believe in this sort of authenticity. He would rather create an imaginary music by fusing aspects of jazz, Gypsy brass band music and klezmer. The result is London's Klezmer Brass All-stars, a modern "Jewish-Oriental village brass band." The musicians include some of this country's best klezmer brass musicians: clarinetist Matt Darriau, leader of The Paradox Trio; trombonist David Harris, co-leader of Naftule's Dream and Shirim; tuba player Stuart Brotman of Brave Old World; and, of course, London of The Klezmatics on trumpet.

The musicians play with a freedom reminiscent of an outdoor, village wedding. The tunes alternate between up-tempo dance numbers like "Ashers Hering Un Mashke Tants (Dave's Herring and Whiskey Dance," that sounds just slightly off-balance thanks to David Licht's wonderful snare work. And slower melancholy tunes like "A Glezl Shnaps," ("A Shot Of Shnaps") and "Fun Der Kretshme," ("Coming From the Bar.") Instrumental medleys are given titles such as "A Shot Of Brandy," and "Another Shot Of Brandy," or "The Jew Will Drink It." The album's Yiddish title "Di Shikere Kapelye" translates "The Drunken Band." In other words, they want us to imagine a Jewish precursor to today's bad boy sex-drugs-and-rock & roll bands. London has created an album of loud and energetic, Oriental (Turkish) flavored music that is best enjoyed in boisterous company, perhaps accompanied by heavy alcohol use. - Aaron Howard

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