|The first new release from the Grammy-nominated ten-piece since 1996 reveals that the Either/Orchestra has by no means been sitting still during the last four years.
With a small but significant change of instrumentation - add congas/percussion, remove one trombone - and major changes in personnel - only bandleader Russ Gershon and veterans Tom Halter and Charlie Kohlhase are holdovers from their last album - the E/O has made its most sensual, rhythm-heavy recording ever.
Famous for the breadth of its musical vision, the E/O rides the powerful drums of Harvey Wirht, from Suriname, and the exciting congas of Vicente Lebron, from the Dominican Republic, on a trip from North American jazz/blues/funk, to Latin jazz, and Township jazz/calypso, to Ethiopian pop tunes from the '70s. All of these grooves are incorporated into original compositions by Gershon, except for the three Ethiopian tunes which have been arranged by the band.
The result is an intoxicating brew, forceful and seductive, with memorable melodies, superb ensemble playing and some of the best soloing ever heard in the long history of the Either/Orchestra. This is without a doubt the most accessible E/O album ever. The groove emphasis brings the E/O's tradition of challenging writing and cutting edge playing into a form that will be enjoyed by fans of African music, Latin music, even reggae and jam bands, without losing the core of E/O fans and jazz critics.
Either/Orchestra: Tom Halter, Colin Fisher (trumpet, Flugelhorn); Joel Yennior (trombone); Jaleel Shaw (alto sax); Russ Gershon (tenor & soprano sax); Charlie Kohlhase (baritone sax); Dan Kaufman (Steinway Rhodes, Wurlitzer piano, Hammond B-3); Rick McLaughlin (bass); Harvey Wright (drums); Vicente Lebron (congas, bongos, percussion); Miguel Zenon (bass)