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Israel At 60!
Published August 18, 2008

In the first of three concerts in celebration of Israel’s 60th birthday, Merkin Concert Hall presents two of the best examples of the new face of American/Israeli music. Trumpeter Frank London recovers the lost sounds of klezmer, taking the music back to its 19th-century roots with the Klezmer Brass All Stars. Pianist Omer Klein, a rising star in the Israeli/New York jazz movement, will offer a program of his deeply melodic, utterly original compositions, tinged with the sounds of the Middle East. Joining Klein will be bassist Omer Avital and Ziv Ravitz on drums, and a special piece with string quartet commissioned specifically for this performance.

 

About Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars:

In the early 19th century, before the transformation of Israel, the deterioration of the old traditions of Yiddish and East European Jews, and the migration to the new world in search of new beginnings, 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 enduring bad reputation. They were often asked to perform 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 better known for its rebellious behavior than its musical talents, many members separated from the original band and formed new groups that mixed dizzy sounds and undefined dances. Their far-reaching repertoire strongly influenced the future of klezmorin.

 

The original styles of klezmorim did not surface until a number of extraordinary brass musicians were brought together by Frank London. The group met at New York City's Knitting Factory to combine their knowledge, history and talents and create magical sounds together. They threw back several cocktails in memory of the old traditions and uncovered secrets and tales of the incredible lost sounds, creating Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars.

 

About Omer Klein:

Pianist and composer Omer Klein is gaining international recognition for his performances and recordings, as a bandleader and a sideman. At 25, he is the newest force in the Israeli-New York City Jazz movement. The Village Voice praised his originality: "on the new 'Introducing Omer Klein', he indicates that he's arrived without echoing any of the masters—an accomplishment these days." All About Jazz noted his "tumultuous lyricism," and Jazz Times described his compositions as "folk songs for the melting pot of the new millennium, with strong Middle Eastern and African elements." Klein is performing extensively worldwide. Aside from leading his own group, he has worked with jazz artists such as Omer Avital, Joel Frahm, Avishai Cohen, Jason Lindner and Meshell Ndgeocello, and collaborated with Israeli music icons like Yehudit Ravitz and Alon Oleartchik.  

 

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