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Trumpeter Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars jump-started New York City's globalFEST this past month. The two-day smorgasbord of sound, now in its third sold-out year at Joe's Pub, featured three concurrent stages of the best in world music. London's aggregation included a bevy of brass, clarinets, vocalists, Brazilian percussion ensemble Scott Kettner & Maracatú New York, and the furiously pumping rhythm section of drummer Aaron Alexander and tubaist extraordinaire Ron Caswell. Coupled with London's sweet horn and manic stage presence, the set was a quick-paced run through of the Allstars' latest adventure.
While Brotherhood of Brass (Piranha, 2002) integrated Jewish, Rom and Egyptian band music, Carnival Conspiracy loosely chronicles London's party band, which includes klezmer pros like clarinetists Merlin Shephard and Matt Darriau, along with trumpeter Susan Hoffman Watts, as they make their way to Brazilian carnival. Guests such as the powerful Ukranian vocalist Marjana Sadowska, clarinetists German Goldenshtayn and Margot Leverett, accordionists Rob Curto and Sanne Moericke, vocalist Sarah Gordon, the female vocal group Kol Isha, and two of the most expressive male voices in Jewish music, Lorin Sklamberg and Michael Alpert, add to this nonstop around-the-world brass bash.
Sadowska leads the spirited Ukranian romp "In Your Garden Twenty Fecund Fruit Trees, Sklamberg lends his gorgeous voice to the Yiddish Blues "Oh Agony, You are So Sweet Like Sugar I Must Eat You Up, and melodious T-bone wizard Curtis Hasselbring comes to the fore on "Another Glass of Wine to give Succor to my Ailing Existence. Alpert and the band turn Yiddish into Spanish without missing a beat for "Midnight Banda Judia before the subtitle cut ratchets things up a notch, setting the stage for Sarah Gordon and Kol Isha to have all join in for a newly lyricised, swaying version of "Who Knows One? .
Another highlight is the master of a thousand klezmer tunes, Moldavian clarinetist German Goldenshtayn, who makes his long-overdue CD debut with a hearfelt doina intro to "Our Ancestors Forty Thousand Years Wide. "Out of What has Maracatú and Alexander combining for a percussively driven tukhus shaker that features a gem of an alto solo from up-and-coming horn player Alex Kontorovich. This, and more, makes for a joyful journey of irreverent humor, inside jokes and high-energy, danceable music.
In Your Garden Twenty Fecund Fruit Trees; Oh Agony, You are so Sweet Like Sugar I Must
to Eat You Up; Another Glass of Wine to Give Succor to My Ailing Existence; Midnight
Banda Judea; In the Marketplace All Is
Subterfuge; Who Knows One?; Pantagruel, Shiker Hindert Prozent; A Time of
Desire--Curha Mix; Our Ancestors Forty Thousand Years Wide; Out of What?; Mi Yamalay;
Borracho # 1 The
Cobbles in the Street Moan for You
Frank London: trumpet, peck horn; Susan Hoffman Watts: trumpet; Merlin Shepherd: clarinets; Matt Darriau: clarinet, alto saxophone; Alex Kontorovich: clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Curtis Hasselbring: trombone, skronk guitar; Jacob Garchik: baritone horn, trombone; Ron Caswell: tuba; Mark Rubin: tuba, baritone horn, tex-mex guitar; Aaron Alexander: drums; Marjana Sadowska: vocals (1); Lorin Sklamberg: vocals (2); Michael Alpert: vocals, poyk (4,9); Sarah Mina Gordon: vocals (6); Alan Matthews, Beyle, Itzik and Esther Gottesman, Paula Teitelbaum: chorus(9); Sanne Moericke: accordion (1,4,5,9); Rob Curto: accordion (3,6-8,10); Danny Blume: guitar(11), Jeff Warschauer: baritone horn (1,9); German Goldenshtayn: clarinet (9); Margot Leverett: clarinet (11); Randy Crafton: percussion (7); Scott Kettner & Maracat