Brotherhood of Brass
Right out of the starting gate with "Freylekhs-Cocek #5," brass unapologetically states its case on Brotherhood of Brass (Piranha), the new CD by Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars, setting the stage for a culturally ambitious and sonically rambunctious album. On musicological terms, cornetist London is aiming at tracing the itinerant path of klezmer history while also touching on the universality and cross-influence of various Eastern European musical traditions. From a purely musical perspective, the CD amounts to a mass of brass, with a clarinet and drums framing the sound of brotherly brass. Vocalist Susan Sandler (also a trumpeter) sings a couple of tunes, breaking up the instrumental flow. Mostly, the music, both traditional and composed by London, moves in kinetic loops, with a celebrative energy tinged by a melancholic subplot. Humorous tang pops up in the musical attitude and the titles, such as "Shish Kebab" and "Doin' the Oriental." This is a different kind of crossover project, one that seeks to reveal secret, time-honored affinities rather than create a new sound.