Saxophonist/Composer Russ Gershon, leader of the ten piece Either/Orchestra, had a problem: Too much music in the can for one CD. His solution: Two CDs, forty some odd minutes apiece, and lower the price from the sixteen dollar range down to $10.99, to better compete with the bargain-priced reissues offered up by the major labels. Afro-Cubism
is the first of the new pair of CDs to be released on Gershon's Accurate Records. This is a churning Latin stew tinctured with the spice of Dizzy's Gillespie's Big Bands, flavored with a dollop of the intensity of Sam Rivers Rivbea All-Star Orchestra, and throw in a fistfull of Randy Weston's (Melba Liston arranged) large ensemble work from a few years back. A driving sound, a brash, hard-blowing crewthree brass, three reeds, in front of piano/bass/drums/congas. Afro-Cubism
has three Gershon originals, one Greg Burke (The E/O's new piano man)tune, a Gershon-arranged Latin/Ethiopian (more about Ethiopia later) number, and (I kid you not) a wild Latin jazz take on George Harrison's "Don't Bother Me" (off Meet the Beatles
?), renamed here No Me Molesta
. The Quiet Beatle, one assumes, would love it.
Now, the Ethiopian connection: Gershon and Company's last CD, More Beautiful Than Death
included "The Ethiopian Suite", a three part tour de force
that they performed, sans
charts, at Dizzy's in downtown San Diego last yeara swirling, three-part dark continent-inspired musical maelstrom that brought the house down.
Now the band is planning a concert series in the Boston area with the 2002-3 "Collaborations" series. Do notdo not, do not, do notmiss them. They are an electrifying (albiet accoustic) live band.
And E/O is scheduled to record an album of Ethiopean music with various collaborators for the French Buda label, for release in January 2003.
The second collection of Either/Orchestra's too-much-music-for-one-CD set, Neo-Modernism
will be released in March of 2003. If it's half as inspired as Afro-Cubism
it's a must-have CD.
Personnel: Tom Halter, trumpet; Colin Fisher, trumpet; Joel Yennior, trombone; Jeremy Udder, alto sax, flute; Russ Gershon, tenor sax; Charlie Kolhase, baritone sax; Gregory Burke, piano; Rick McLaughlin, bass; Harvey Wirht, drums, cymbals, cowbells; Vincente Lebron, congas, bongos, timbales