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4th Ward Afro Klezmer Orchestra

4th Ward Afro Klezmer Orchestra is a nine-piece ensemble comprised of Edim Baho (acoustic guitar), Colin Bragg (electric guitar), Jeff Crompton (reeds), Tony Staffiero (tenor sax), Noah Kess (drums), Chris Riggenbach (bass guitar), Bill Nittler (reeds), Roger Rusow (trumpet) and finally Nick Dixon (trombone).

4th Ward Afro Klezmer Orchestra

4th Ward Afro Klezmer Orchestra

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, these fellows play what can only be described as a jazz-infused concoction of traditional Jewish klezmer music and African rhythms, resulting in a very unusual but strangely satisfying and uplifting form of music. Klezmer is a Jewish genre of music typically played at celebrations such as weddings and is therefore rather upbeat. Within their latest release the songs themselves function as the soundtrack to the eponymous adventures of Abdul the Rabbi, which is represented in comic book form by the band. Not that intimate knowledge of any of this makes a difference; if you like deeply groovy jazz-funk freakouts with a Jewish slant, then this is the music for you!

I have never heard music like this before, which in itself is a wonderful thing. There is a fair amount of diversity in their material, from mournful drones to glorious cacophonies and even a cheeky hip-hop vocal wedged into the middle of their latest release. The afrobeat nature of the percussion keeps things fresh and adds so much to the groove that you just can’t help but tap your foot. The group’s first release, East Atlanta Passover Stomp, lacks any obvious narrative but has just as much to offer fans of Mingus, Davis, Coltrane and even the likes of Fela Kuti.

I highly recommend this band to anyone with a taste for those aforementioned artists, or who are after something different.


Thanks for taking the time out to review the band Robbie – who you can join on twitter, he is head down with University coursework so not been able to find much time recently, but always a pleasure when he does.

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