Frank London's Klezmer Brass AllStars
According to Klezmer trumpeter and trickster Frank London-best known for his work with the Klezmatics-in the early 19th century there was a notorious band known as "Di Shikere Kapelye" (The Inebriated Orchestra, also known as the "Band of Drunks"). This group of musicians gave birth to the soul of klezmer and gave klezmorim their imperishable bad reputation.
London, these wandering musicians were often asked to perform in the shtetls and villages of the Old Country, but never invited to stay, perhaps due to the spontaneous musical collaborations in the main plazas of various towns after all the bars and pubs had closed. As the group became known more for their rebellious behaviors rather than their musical talents, many members separated from the original band and formed new bands that mixed dizzy sounds and undefined dances. Their far-reaching repertoire became a strong influence for the future of klezmorim.
Of course, this account of this fictitious band was all bunk; a put-on by London that he used as an excuse to assemble some of the finest klezmer (and non-klezmer) musicians around to recreate and reimagine an alternative, bad-boy klezmer history. The reality behind the project was London bringing together veterans of the late '80s/ early '90s New York klezmer and downtown jazz scenes -centered around the old Knitting Factory bar-to pool their knowledge and talent to stretch Klezmer music in different, non-traditional directions. His rotating cast of musicians included members of the leading light of American klezmer, including the Klezmatics, Brave Old World, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Hasidic New Wave, Naftule's Dream and the groups of Andy Statman and David Krakauer.
The ensemble's first project, 2000's Di Shikere Kapelye was a raucous, alcohol-soaked take on traditional klezmer, but by 2002's Brotherhood of Brass, London was branching out, and inviting Serbian trumpeter Boban Markovic and Egyptian ensemble Hasballah Brass Band into the fold for a multi-cultural blowout. 2006's Carnival Conspiracy found London and his crew flirting with Brazil's percussive batucada marching band tradition, injecting some Yiddish soul into the Carnival processionals.-Tom Pryor