Abraham Inc. = Klezmer + Funk + Hip Hop
(Posted on October 03, 2012) Featuring David Krakauer, Fred Wesley, and Socalled
8 p.m., Thursday, October 25, 2012
Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
co-presented with The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies
in honor of Daniel Pearl World Music Days
Tickets: $45, $35, and $25
Klezmer-funk supergroup Abraham Inc. brings its unique musical amalgamation of styles and genius to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, 2012. Abraham Inc. is an unprecedented collaboration among three cultural visionaries - David Krakauer, champion of Jewish klezmer music and world-class clarinetist, Fred Wesley, legendary funk trombonist and arranger known for his performances with James Brown, Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, and many more, and Socalled, a hip-hop renegade. The multi-genre group also includes a 10-piece cohort of their musical friends. The concert is co-presented with The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies in honor of Daniel Pearl World Music Days, an international network of concerts that use the power of music to reaffirm its commitment to tolerance and humanity. These "Harmony of Humanity" concerts were created after the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in an effort to remind the world of the principles by which Mr. Pearl lived, the universal power of music and our shared humanity. Tickets: $45, $35, and $25.
Founded in 2006, Abraham Inc.'s jubilant klezmer-funk dance party is not so much a meeting as a melding of transporting styles, which encourages audiences to find creative common ground. Recent and upcoming highlights for the group include performances at The Apollo Theater and Symphony Space in New York, The Heineken Open'r Festival in Poland and Jazz a la Villette in Paris, France, and the "Shalom on Szeroka Street" concert during 21st Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland, in 2011. Its debut release "Tweet Tweet" on Krakauer's own Table Pounding Records label peaked at No. 1 in Funk and No. 1 in Jewish and Yiddish Music, and at No. 35 in music sales on Amazon. It reached No. 7 on Billboard's Jazz Chart and was featured at No. 40 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart for fastest sellers. Jazz Times aptly described a recent Abraham Inc. performance: "Wesley brought the funk while virtuoso clarinetist David Krakauer delivered the passionate intensity and deep Jewish soul that ties him to the lineage of klezmer clarinet kings like Naftule Brandwein and Dave Tarras. Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist and visionary beat architect Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled, provided a bridge between the klezmer and hip-hop worlds with his audacious Hebraic rapping... " Of the group's formation, Krakauer says, "Ever since I formed Klezmer Madness! in the mid 1990s I've been exploring the possibilities of adding funk, jazz, and lately hip-hop influences to klezmer. These explorations logically led me to my collaboration with Socalled, a kindred spirit in the search for that magic place where these styles can find a commonality of ecstatic trance." Krakauer continues, "I got in touch with Fred Wesley through a mutual friend and we met up in New York - at the Carnegie Deli, where we had matzoh ball soup - and decided to try playing together. We booked a rehearsal studio, not quite sure what was going to happen. Fred and I improvised together on a beat by Socalled, and at the end of it we all said to each other, 'Wow, this totally works!'" As Socalled sees it, Abraham Inc. is about "bringing people together with music, celebrating differences and commonalities... Cultural hybrid vigor in yo' face." Wesley says, "It is a pleasure doing something different with such dynamic musicians as Socalled and David. Our talents were stretched to areas that we couldn't have imagined reaching alone. We all inspire one another."
Clarinetist David Krakauer, praised internationally for his astounding ability to play in a myriad of music genres occupies the unique position of being both one of the world's leading exponents of Eastern European Jewish klezmer music, plus a major voice in classical music and avant-garde improvisation. In recent years, Krakauer has emerged as a compelling soloist, introducing his distinctive sound to symphonic audiences in the US and Europe. Krakauer and his band Klezmer Madness! have performed around the world since 1996, forging alliances between his branch of world music and a multitude of musical genres including jazz, funk and most recently, electro. His first release on the prestigious French jazz label Label Bleu "A New Hot One!" was hailed as a masterwork. "The Twelve Tribes" was designated album of the year in the jazz category for the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. "Klezmer, NY" on John Zorn's Tzadik label features his visionary suite, "A Klezmer Tribute to Sidney Bechet." "Klezmer Madness," also on Tzadik, was one of the label's best selling discs. Other CDs include the groundbreaking "Rhythm and Jews" (Piranha/Flying Fish), and "Jews with Horns" (Piranha/Green Linnet) with the Klezmatics, plus "In the Fiddler's House" with violinist Itzhak Perlman/ the Klezmatics (Angel).
Fred Wesley began his career as a teenage trombonist with Ike and Tina Turner. He later was music director, arranger, trombonist and a primary composer for James Brown from 1968-1975, then arranged for and played with Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy's Rubber Band. With James Brown and as leader of his backing band The JBs, Wesley became one of the world's most famous sidemen, helping to define the very meaning of funk with his distinctive solos. In teaming with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, he played a key role in taking funk to the next level. Wesley is featured in the documentary film "Soul Power," as well as the Oscar-winning "When We Were Kings" and other documentaries about James Brown and funk music. Seminal hits he helped create include Brown's and the JBs' "Big Payback" and "Pass the Peas." Others include Parliament's "P-Funk" and Bootsy's "Stretching Out." Author of the acclaimed memoir, "Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Side Man" (Duke University Press 2002), Wesley is one of the world's most-sampled musicians. A veteran of the Count Basie Orchestra, Wesley also has worked with a who's who of other artists including Ray Charles, Pancho Sanchez, Van Morrison, Usher, the SOS Band and Cameo, as well as with his close friends and cohorts Maceo Parker and Pee Wee Ellis. Today, he plays and records with his own jazz-funk band, the New JBs. He also freelances as an arranger, producer and studio performer, and shares his wealth of musical knowledge with young musicians and music students in educational settings worldwide.
Klezmer-hip hop maestro Socalled (Josh Dolgin) is a musician, producer, composer, arranger, magician, filmmaker, photographer and visual artist based in Montreal, Canada. Born in Ottawa and raised just north of there, in Chelsea, Quebec, he grew up taking piano lessons and loving funk and hip hop. When Socalled first heard klezmer music on an old Yiddish record, he was fascinated by the cool sounds he could sample to make hip hop beats. Then he realized that integrating this Jewish music from the 1930s into his songs was a way of representing himself and his cultural heritage. It enabled him to bring something of his own to funk and hip hop, giving him what he calls "a real reason to make music." Known for his genre-bending approach and his collaborations with musical giants of funk, klezmer, hip hop, lounge and classical music, Socalled has performed all over the world. He has released three CDs: "Socalled Seder," and "HipHopKhasene," and most recently "Ghettoblaster," recorded with Jewish folk singer Theodore Bikel, lounge pianist Irving Fields, musician and producer Gonzalez, master clarinetist David Krakauer, country singer Katie Moore, rapper C-Rayz Walz, and funk trombone legend Fred Wesley, among others.
Tickets and subscriptions are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.quickcenter.com.
The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com.
Vol. 45, No. 69