Accurate Records: Growing Out of Boston
Other Either/Orchestra projects that may or may not be released by Accurate will be a live recording with the great Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed which we've been accumulating over concerts for a few years; a studio project with the Ethiopian singer Teshome Mitiku; a studio record of my finished original compositions; another studio recording of music that I received a Chamber Music America commission to write. Also, I have done a 25th Anniversary Concert featuring many alumni, and we have another one in New York (Feb. 11, 2011 at Le Poisson Rouge), both of which are being recorded and videotaped.
And I have no doubt that more interesting projects will present themselves. One thing I've learned after thirty years of playing in very serious bands and being immersed in the music scene is that dedicated musicians will write and record music, come hell or high water. I will continue to lend my experience and knowledge to as many of them as I can.
One thing is the future, another thing is the past. The following selection is a tiny portion of the many highlights in the Accurate catalog.
The Brunt, the fifth release by Either/Orchestra, finds them in a particularly inspired mood. The orchestra's signature sound, combining lush charts and swinging rhythms with avant-garde explosions and pretty explorations of texture, takes the listener out on joyful journey. "Pas de Trois" is a feverishly swinging piece, while "Hard Talk," a cover of a Mal Maldron tune, sees the saxophone trio of Russ Gershon, Andrew DAngelo and Charlie Kohlhase opening with an a cappella conversation of cacophonic tones, before the rhythm section sets in, creating an elastic counterpoint to the voice of the reeds. A surprising inclusion is the cover of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," a song which gets a witty comment by Gershon in the liner notes: "Lay Lady Lay comes from that well-known jazz composer Bob Dylan...This arrangement landed in our book one April day in Ohio, when a band member (John Dirac?) played Nashville Skyline on his boom box. During the three-hour drive to Dayton, yours truly scratched out a chart, and copied the parts in green ink (we still have those parts) while the band ate dinner."
Combining humor, a superior sense of rhythm and melody, and an eclectic sense of genres, Either/Orchestra's The Brunt is a heavyweight in the discography of the group.
Dark of Days
The influence from rock is shown on Bourbon Princess' gloomy Dark of Days. Singer/songwriter Monique Ortiz's deep voice and fretless bass is front and center on a album that also features former Morphine drummer Jerome Dupree and Russ Gershon on saxophones.
Slowly unfolding tales of lust, longing and darkness are garnered with shuffling drums, chugging guitars, bluesy rhythms and soulful saxophone. A particular highlight is the title track with its surreal lyrics: "The wind took their sail, waltzing on the ocean. The captain's on a bed of nails while all those evil thinkers and foul-mouthed drinkers made plans for us. This doom is very scenic and bright! For a moment I forgot that we were still in the night."
Complementing the evocative lyrics is a beautiful string arrangement by Gershon, a welcome addition to the deep blues-rock sound that dominates the album.
Taken as whole, Darkness of Days is a sinister affair, but there's also something strangely uplifting about Ortiz's music. Maybe it's her admirable will to confront the darker aspects of the human mind.
New Music for Silent Films
The bleak, the beautiful and the weird go hand in hand on Alloy Orchestra's New Music for Silent Films. The program covers five movies: , Aelita, Queen of Mars, Sylvester, The Wind and First Night. While many film composers rely on strings as their primary source for creating moods, the Alloy Orchestra uses the double attack of percussion to make a world of fascinating sounds. Adding to the effect of percussion is Caleb Simpson's tasteful use of synthesizers and the organic sound of the accordion.
Shop for jazz:
While many film composers rely on strings as their primary source for creating moods, the Alloy Orchestra uses the double attack of percussion to make a world of fascinating sounds. Adding to the effect of percussion is Caleb Simpson's tasteful use of synthesizers and the organic sound of the accordion.