Career-Spanning Concert Pays Tribute to Composer-Trumpeter Frank London

Frank London (photo Adrian Buckmaster)

(NEW YORK, N.Y.) — Composer/trumpeter and bandleader Frank London — the “mystic high priest of avant klez-jazz” (All About Jazz) — presents SPIRIT STRONGER THAN BLOOD: A Retrospective Celebration of Frank London’s Life & Works, at Brooklyn’s Roulette on June 3, 2024, at 8pm.

The concert takes place the week London turns 66 and on the eve of a bone marrow transplant that will hopefully cure his myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer he was diagnosed with four years ago. Frank says, “As it will be – at best – a long time before I’m up and about, this concert is a chance to celebrate and make music with my friends, colleagues and family.”

The concert features the Klezmatics, the Conspiracy Brass Trio, the Elders, and Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars; and music from the following projects: Invocations (Tzadik Records); Salomé: Woman of Valor (text by Adeena Karasick); A Night in the Old Marketplace (by Glen Berger & Alexandra Aron); Ghetto Songs; and 1001 Voices: A Symphony for a New America (text by Judith Sloan).

It will also celebrate the release of three of London’s new recordings: The Elders’ Spirit Stronger Than Blood (ESP-disk’); Conspiracy Brass (Tzadik); and Sir Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars’ Chronika (Borscht Beat).

Frank London has been a central figure of the downtown scene since the mid-1980s. A leader in the international revival of Yiddish music, he is a founding member of the Klezmatics, Hasidic New Wave, and many other groups. He has worked with everyone from LaMonte Young, Itzhak Perlman, John Cale, and Allen Ginsberg to Gal Costa, Lester Bowie, Karen O, LL Cool J, and Iggy Pop. He composed the Cuban-Yiddish opera, Hatuey – Memory of Fire, and the symphonic oratorio, 1001 Voices: A Symphony for a New America. He is a Grammy Award winner, was knighted Sir Frank London for his work promoting Jewish and multi-cultural music, and is featured on over 500 recordings. All the music to be performed at Roulette was composed by London.

Frank says, “I dedicate this concert to my dear friends and colleagues who have passed away from similar blood diseases and other cancers: Thomas Chapin, Adrienne Cooper, Isabelle Deconinck, Jewlia Eisenberg, Ron Miles, Lester Bowie, as well as my late namesake, Frank London Brown. And to GWAR’s BälSäc the Jaws ‘o Death and Uncle Don Gartner, who survived myelofibrosis.”

Musicians performing at Roulette will include:

Aaron Alexander, drums

Shai Bachar, keys

Newman Taylor Baker, drums

Richie Barshay, drums

Ron Caswell, tuba

Rob Curto, accordion

Matt Darriau, sax

Javier Diaz, drums

Brian Drye, trombone

Sarah Gordon, voice

Hilliard Greene, bass

Lisa Gutkin, voice

Yaakov ‘Yanky’ Lemmer, voice

Marilyn Lerner, piano

Yuval Lion, drums

Onel Matos, drums

Paul Morrissett, bass

Manu Narayan, voice

Eleanor Reissa, voice

Marcus Rojas, tuba

Josh Roseman, trombone

Rob Schwimmer, Haken Continuum organ

Brandon Seabrook, guitar

Ilya Shneyveys, accordion

Lorin Sklamberg, piano, accordion, voice

Ksenia Vaseleva, bass

Greg Wall, sax

Michael Winograd, clarinet

Kenny Wollesen, drums

Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble, James John, Artistic Director

Frank London (photo Adrian Buckmaster)

Sir Frank London is a Grammy-award winning trumpeter-composer and co-founder of the Klezmatics, the world’s leading Yiddish music group. He composed and performed Freylekhs – Klezmer Fantasy for Trumpet & Orchestra at Central Park SummerStage. His Yiddish-Cuban opera Hatuey Memory of Fire (with Elise Thoron) premiered in Havana and at Montclair’s Peak Performances. He composed the poetry/dance/video/music work Salomé: Woman of Valor (with Adeena Karasick) which performed internationally. In 2019 alone, he premiered the song cycle Ghetto Songs at Hamburg’s Elbephilharmonie; co-created and music-directed Carnegie Hall’s From Shtetl to Stage; presented Weill in New York at Dessau’s Kurt Weill Festival; and created the spectacle In Dreams Begin Responsibilities for the New York Public Library. In April 2020, he composed the NYC-wide pandemic symphonic fanfare For Our Courageous Workers.

Frank has worked with John Zorn, Karen O, Itzhak Perlman, Pink Floyd, LL Cool J, Mel Tormé, Lester Bowie, LaMonte Young, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Jane Siberry, Ben Folds 5; is on over 500 CDs, and was featured on Sex and the City. He created, composed, performed and music-directed From Moses to Mostel, the history of Jews in musical theater starring Steve Martin at NY’s Town Hall; the folk-opera A Night In The Old Marketplace (with Alex Aron and Glen Berger), Green Violin (with Elise Thoron & Rebecca Taichman), Davenen for Pilobolus Dance Theater; 1001 Voices: Symphony for a New America (with Judith Sloan & Warren Lehrer); music for Tony Kushner’s A Dybbuk, John Sayles’ The Brother From Another Planet, Karin Coonrod’s Merchant of Venice, and the Czech-American Marionette Theater’s Golem.

He leads Glass House Orchestra, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars, Shekhina Big Band, Sharabi with Deep Singh, Ahava Raba with Yanky Lemmer & Michael Winograd, and Vilde mekhaye with Eleanor Reissa. He has published two books: Klezmer Trumpet Duets and Patterns for Klez. London was artistic director of KlezKanada. In 2016, he was knighted “Sir Frank” by Hungary for his work advancing Jewish and multicultural Hungarian music and culture, and given the Honourable title by the city of Krakow.



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