The 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra is an original Atlanta musical entity; a nine piece jazz orchestra playing original compositions and arrangements that combine West African influenced rhythms with Eastern European Klezmer melodies. The 4th Ward A.K.O., led by trumpet player/composer Roger Ruzow, boasts a roster of veteran Atlanta talent which features Colin Bragg (guitar), Chris Case (keyboard), Jeff Crompton (clarinet, alto & baritone sax), Ben Davis (tenor sax & clarinet), Chip Epsten (violin). Eric Fontaine (tenor sax), Ben Gettys (bass), Keith Leslie (drums), Bill Nittler (clarinet, baritone sax), and Blake Williams (trombone). The A.K.O. ensemble contains former and current members of, Noot d’ Noot. Cadillac Jones, Gold Sparkle Band, Home of the Wildcats, Perkenjie Shift, Bazooka Ants, Samada Trio, Chilli Willie Blues Band, Twittering Machine, Standard Deviation, and Nu South Subterraneans.
What sayeth the press ?
Creative Loafing Best of Atlanta 2009 Critic’s Choice:Best Jazz Band
-“Comprised of an ensemble of the Atlanta area’s finest players, Fourth Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra carries forward the legacy of wandering gypsy troupes and marching brass bands, Yiddish minstrelsy and Tijuana moodiness, black and tan fantasies, Yoruban juju, Jewish Seder service and big band boogie woogie.” –Stomp and Stammer Magazine September 2009
-“Painstakingly crafted, expertly mashed together, East Atlanta Passover Stomp funnels funk and highlife with a shot of synagogue and a rhapsodic side of blues. It’s an engagingly complex, simply enjoyable, thoroughly 21st century American music.”- Doug Deloach October 2009
-“The 4TH WARD AFRO-KLEZMER ORCHESTRA plays exactly what the name promises, a merger of Western and African rhythms and Klezmer-influenced song styles laid down by some of the best jazz hands in Atlanta.”-Chad Radford - Creative Loafing, Atlanta