About the Band

Three trombones?
Brandwein and the Beatles?
“Hava Nagila” on top of “Heartbreak Hotel”?

Welcome to the sometimes frenzied, sometimes tender, sometimes playful—but always fresh and exciting—sound of Dor L’Dor.

Rachel and her dad performing with their klezmer band

“Dor L’Dor” is Hebrew for “generation to generation.”  It describes the make-up of the band and looks back to the practice of families of klezmer musicians passing down this rich musical tradition to their children.  Dor L’Dor was born in 1999, jointly delivered by Ken and Susan Brown not long after discovering that they were “with band.” 

The band originally consisted of Ken (clarinet, saxophones, shofar) and Susan (piano, arrangements) their sons Michael (bass trombone, euphonium) and Daniel (bass), their daughter Rachel (tambourine), and Ken’s brother Steve (drums).  They were joined by another talented young man, Brandon Armstrong (bass, acoustic guitar, trombone, and Michael’s best friend), who helped make possible the band’s characteristic two (and sometimes three, or even four)-trombone sound. 

trombone players in Klezmer band
Klezmer band performing on concert stage

We’ve been extremely fortunate as our second, third, and subsequent “Dors” have come of age.  The problem with having a multi-generational band, where children and students eventually leave home to seek their fame and fortune, was at first solved by a steady flow of trombone players from the University of Tennessee’s extraordinarily talented trombone studio.  We started to think of UT as our own private feeder-school.  But as attached as we got to these kids, the laws of nature and higher education prevailed.  Exit one Dor, enter a new Dor.

Sometimes one of the kids leaves, then returns and brings a whole new dimension to the band.  While we started out with an exclusively instrumental repertoire, our daughter Rachel’s undergraduate and graduate studies in vocal performance and musical theater have opened up the world of Yiddish and Hebrew song for us.  We don’t know how we lived without vocals for so long — or how we didn’t know about the multi-talented Joe Christian’s singing facility in Yiddish and Hebrew — but you can hear us making up for it on our third CD, Dor L’Dor—(Almost) All Grown Up.

vocal performance of Yiddish and Hebrew songs

Jon Walton now leads our trombone section, joined by Joe Christian and Sean Copeland.  In addition to generational diversity, these guys have helped bring cultural and musical diversity to our continuing efforts to unite old world with new.  Each generation draws from the tradition; each generation adds to the tradition.

Dor L’Dor thus describes the make-up of the band and the timeless appeal of our repertoire, from “Bulgar a la Naftule” to “When I’m Sixty-Four,” and from “Goodnight Irene” to “Oifn Pripitchik.”  But regardless of the genre, our arrangements discover fresh possibilities in this traditional music, so that even the pieces that audiences find delightfully familiar will seem brand new.

a bride and her father dancing at her wedding
crowd listening to klezmer band performance