A Celebration of Frank London’s Music Will Be Missing One Thing: Him

Frank London is one of those musicians who somehow seems to be everywhere, participating in a bit of everything. At 66, the trumpeter, composer, arranger and bandleader has collaborated with everyone from Mel Tormé to LL Cool J. A founding member of the Klezmatics, a band that helped to revitalize the klezmer style during the late ’80s, London has worked for decades at a fertile crossroads where Jewish music meets downtown jazz. With two new albums involving both styles arriving imminently, he arranged to throw a party, and invited dozens of friends and colleagues to play.

The celebration, happening on Monday at the Brooklyn venue Roulette, features the Klezmatics alongside three of London’s bands: Conspiracy Brass, a buoyant, funky horns-and-percussion aggregation; the Elders, a soulful, hard-swinging quintet of seasoned jazzers; and Klezmer Brass Allstars, who meld traditional Yiddish and Hasidic music with electronic beats.

The only thing missing will be London himself, now hospitalized for treatment of a rare cancer he became aware of four years ago. During unrelated medical testing in 2020, doctors detected signs of myelofibrosis, a chronic leukemia characterized by a buildup of scar tissue in the bone marrow. The median survival rate for the disease is six years.

“I didn’t tell anyone much about it, because this is a very weird disease,” London said during an interview before his hospitalization, in the cozy East Village apartment he shares with his wife, Tine Kindermann, an artist and musician.

“Some people die within a year,” he said. “Some people live with it for 30 years. I’m in this statistical norm where it’s like, after three to five years it starts to get worse. So for the last four years, I’ve just been leading my life.”

For London, that meant taking care of business. In addition to wrapping up his two new albums, “Brass Conspiracy” by Conspiracy Brass and “Spirit Stronger Than Blood” by the Elders, he delivered a Klezmer Brass Allstars album, “Chronika,” last December. He wrote music for an independent film, completed a score for a forthcoming Karin Coonrod production of “King Lear,” and recorded a commissioned set of niggunim — Jewish spiritual melodies — with a starry ensemble of fellow iconoclasts.

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