Abraham, Inc.

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Photograph: Ssirus Pakzad

Apollo Theater; May 3, 2008

Abraham, Inc. is a cultural collision that brings together artists of diverging ages and musical backgrounds, while seeking common threads between African-American and Jewish sounds. It is a well-meaning project—a description that is more often than not code for “boring.” Yet this band, which officially premieres tonight at the Apollo, should prove engaging. At its core lie three dynamic musicians: David Krakauer, the classically trained clarinetist who has been a leading figure in the klezmer revival; trombonist Fred Wesley, a veteran of James Brown’s band (he cowrote “Hot Pants”); and Socalled, an underrated Montreal rapper and accordion player whose album from last year, Ghettoblaster, presented an unusual and often funny jumble of hip-hop and old Jewish sounds. The band conjures a cartoonish frenzy that pulsates through klezmer, funk and hip-hop. The mania suggests bliss and ecstasy—as imagined by people on the run.

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