- label:Piranha Records
- type: Composer/Songwriter
When he’s not leading the world’s premiere future Klezmer ensemble the Klezmatics, Frank London engages in all sorts of other projects in and out of the klezmer nucleus – from the soundtrack of Sex and the City to the Yiddish-Cuban opera Hatuey: Memory of Fire – the lot! And the latest addition: the Glass House Orchestra.
From Hasidic New Wave and Les Miserables Brass Band to the Glass House Orchestra – in and out of one project, in and out of the next. That's the way things go when you're as powerful and wild, as adventurous, restless and prolific an artist as Frank London.
Let's focus on London’s Piranha parties – The Klezmatics, the Klezmer Brass All Stars and the Glass House Orchestra. First came the Klezmatics: you can read all about them here. Next were The Klezmer Brass All Stars – as their debut album’s title candidly disclosed, they were originally inspired and built around di Shikere Kapelye, a legendary klezmer band from the region around Odessa. Or maybe they were from the Trans-Carpathians, or Minsk or Pinsk in Belarus or wherever – or maybe they’re just another urban legend. But hey – if you don’t let yourself go with the flow, you might never get anywhere near adventures or thrills in the first place!
Legend has said many things about di Shikere Kapelye: the drunken band, freewheeling, wild and elusive. Having had a serious affinity with drinking and its effects, it is no great wonder that there are stories of dissatisfied clients, court cases and the like. But the important thing for our purposes here at Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars’ label is the Kapelye’s repertoire – the core repertoire of klezmer as it is maintained today: bulgars, freylekhs and khosidls, doynas, horas and waltzes. Bringing together members of some of the leading bands of contemporary klezmer, the Klezmer Brass Allstars set about recreating the repertoire and, most importantly, the feel. In the words of Stan Getz, when asked “How do you play so well when you’re drunk?”, the famous answer came “I practice drunk!”
That’s the spirit! From there it grew – up to the Allstars’ Balkan collaboration with the Boban Markovic Orkestar and the Hasaballa Brass Band on the Brotherhood of Brass album and on to the Latin excursions of Carnival Conspiracy.
Frank London has elaborately indulged in soundtracks, stage work, TV appearances (including a Klezmatics cameo in Sex and the City) and added his tones to Maurice El Medioni's legendary piano playing on Medioni's album Café Oran, and has returned with just another proper band outfit – The Glass House Orchestra! Conceived to commemorate the near extinction of Jewish Hungarian culture during WWII, the project rapidly grew into an even bigger adventure, doing just that – but picking up on the heritage and reviving it for good, on top of that.
And on Frank London goes – you better keep an eye on him and the outings of his ever-changing outfits!
The Glass House Orchestra's debut album Glass House Orchestra – Astro-Hungarian Jewish Music is out on Piranha Records on 21 July 2017 and available as download & streaming.
Ballkan World Music Management
Line UpGlass House Orchestra
Frank London (trumpet)
Béla Ágoston (reeds)
Pablo Aslan (bass)
Aram Bajakian (guitar)
Yonadav Halevy (percussion)
Miklós Lukács (cimbalom)
Jake Shulman-Ment (violin)
Edina Szirtes “Mókus” (violin, vocals)
Klezmer Brass All Stars
Aaron Alexander (drums)
Michael Winograd (clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone)
Brian Drye (trombone)
Frank London (trumpet, peck horn)
Ron Caswell (tuba)
Patty Farrell (Accordion)
Brandon Seabrook (guitar)