Abraham Inc. is an unprecedented collaboration among three cultural visionaries – champion of Jewish klezmer music and world-class clarinetist David Krakauer, legendary funk trombonist and arranger Fred Wesley (known for his performances with James Brown, Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, and many more), and hip-hop renegade Socalled. The multi-genre supergroup and a 10-piece cohort of their musical friends will be taking Abraham Inc. to New York and the Washington DC area for two performances in May 2012. On Wednesday, May 2 at 8:30pm, Abraham Inc. takes the stage at 92YTribeca (200 Hudson St.) in New York, and on Thursday, May 3 at 8pm, the group performs at the Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane) in North Bethesda, MD.
Founded in 2006, Abraham Inc. heralds a time when mutual respect is presumed, and musical traditions can hit with full force without concession or appropriation. This jubilant klezmer-funk dance party is not so much a meeting as a melding of these 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 Krannert Center in Illinois, Hancher Auditorium in Iowa, The Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston, The Strathmore in Maryland, Cal Performances, The Heineken Open’r Festival in Poland, The Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, the Transmusicales de Rennes, and Jazz a la Villette in Paris.
Abraham Inc.’s 2010 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. Promotional copies available upon request.
Jazz Times aptly described a recent Abraham Inc. performance, reporting, “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 while the Bronx-bred emcee C-Rayz Walz brought street cred to this unlikeliest of collaborations with his remarkable freestyling facility and stark urban imagery.”
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.”
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 8:30pm
92Y Tribeca | 200 Hudson St. | NYC
$20 in advance at 212.601.1000; $25 at the door
Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 8pm
Music Center at Strathmore | 5301 Tuckerman Lane | North Bethesda, MD
$37 at 301.581.5100