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September 2002

Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars
Brotherhood of Brass
Piranha

If you're into wild brass bands or nutty wedding music, look no further. Frank London leads an extraordinary summit of Jews, Moors and Gypsies on Brotherhood of Brass (Piranha). It's not surprising that with a band like London's, there's plenty of great improvising. The leader is a fine trumpeter and his band includes jazzers like trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, clarinetist Matt Darriau and drummer Aaron Alexander. What makes this a startling release, though, is the appearance of the Boban Markovic Orkestar from the Balkans, and the Hasaballa Brass Band from Cairo. It's hard to keep still while listening to this music, especially the frantic, funky "Freylekhs." Some of the exuberant wedding dances, like the "Watts-Hoffman Special," are so fast, only cartoon characters and triathletes can keep up. To give yourself a breather, take in Susan Sandler's beautifully ornamented, sweetly lyrical Shabbes song "Shalom Aleykhem." But then you'll want to prepare yourself for the wiggy bonus track "Doin' the Oriental." Where else are you gonna hear Jimmy Durante sampled in a hip-hop brass spectacular?

Originally published in September 2002
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