276

Either/Orchestra: Neo-Modernism

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
It's puzzle why the ten man Either/Orchestra, under the leadership of saxophonist Russ Gershon, is still something of an underground outfit. They've been through fifteen years and eight albums, the spawning of careers of several first rate jazz men, including John Medeski and Charlie Kohlhase, and scores of great live performances.

The groups's last two CDs, More Beautiful than Death and Afro-Cubism, were progressive jewels – African and Latin rhythms with dark undercurrents, dense arrangements that demand repeat listenings; challenging compositions, and at least one raucous masterpiece: "The Ethiopian Suite."

Neo-Modernism continues in this vein – brightly truculent (in the very best sense of the word) with dark underpinnings, intricate textures, vibrant soling, and a palpable sense of the joy of musical creation pervading the proceedings.

The Either/Orchestra consists of three brass, three reeds, piano/bass/drums and a percussionist. The sound is full and rich, in your face a great deal, with a lot of churning going on beneath the surface, thanks to Gershon's arranging skills.

Gershon's E/O sound has been compared to trombonist/arranger Melba Liston's work with Randy Weston's large units and Sam Rivers' big ensemble recordings. On Neo-Modernism you'll hear the influence of Mingus, a la Mingus Mingus Mingus on "The Modernist," with its dense texture and Rick McLaughlin's muscular, aggressive bass lines. The spirit of Coltrane's African Brass session seems to be hanging around "Los Olvidados," with its all-encompassing harmonies and dark rhythms.

There's also a nod to Thelonius Monk and soprano sax man Steve Lacy (who has made it his mission to interpret Monk's music), on "Baby Invents Monk." Add to these a hard-driving, edgy take on "Fast Edd," written by former E/O bassist Bob Nieske, that features Gershon's Steve Lacy-esque soprano sax work.

The set closes with "Heavily Amplified Hairpiece," a title that could have been penned by Mingus, but the song opens with a knock and rumbling Bitches Brew groove, with drummer Harvey Wirht and percussionist Vincente Lebron cooking along on a hot simmer, an organic opening to a song that adds the wasp sting (a new thing for E/O) of electronics to the mix.

Progressive as always, spirited, and with too many creative solos to mention.

Visit the Either/Orchestra and Accurate records at www.accuraterecords.com

Track Listing: Los Olvidados, Baby Invents Monk, The Modernist, Fast Edd, Heavily Amplified Hairpiece

Personnel: Russ Gershon, tenor and soprano saxophones; Tom Halter, Colin Fisher, trumpets; Joel Yennior, trombone; Jeremy Udden, alto sax; Charlie Kohlhase, baritone sax; Gregory Burk, piano, Rhodes piano, Moog, Univox; Rick McLaughlin, bass; Harvey Wirht, drums, cymbals, cowbell; Vincente Lebron, conga, bongos, percussion

Title: Neo-Modernism | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Accurate Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

The (one of a kind) Shimmy

The (one of a kind) Shimmy

Either/Orchestra
Mood Music For Time Travellers

Yezamed Yebada

Yezamed Yebada

Either/Orchestra
Live in Addis

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Opinion
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Mood Music for Time Travelers

Mood Music for Time...

Accurate Records
2011

buy
Mood Music For Time Travellers

Mood Music For Time...

Accurate Records
2010

buy
 

Afro-cubism

Unknown label
2003

buy
Neo-Modernism

Neo-Modernism

Accurate Records
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Phoenix Rising Album Reviews
Phoenix Rising
By Jack Bowers
June 24, 2019
Read Last Works Album Reviews
Last Works
By Doug Hall
June 24, 2019
Read The Change Album Reviews
The Change
By Roger Farbey
June 24, 2019
Read City Night Album Reviews
City Night
By Doug Collette
June 24, 2019
Read Waves Album Reviews
Waves
By John Eyles
June 23, 2019
Read Elevate Album Reviews
Elevate
By Doug Collette
June 23, 2019
Read Connor Sings — Kenton Swings Album Reviews
Connor Sings — Kenton Swings
By Jack Bowers
June 23, 2019