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LIVE REVIEWS

Either/Orchestra: New York City, February 11, 2011

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Either/OrchestraLe Poisson Rouge New York, NYFebruary 11, 2011 If you graduated school to work for a law firm or a contracting company, your reunion would probably not be a raucous or joyous event. However, if you and your classmates went on to be the employees of Lee Konitz, Lester Bowie, Sam Rivers, Nnenna Freelon and Morphine--and if one of you founded your own company, called Medeski, Martin & Wood--there'd certainly be cause to celebrate. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Either/Orchestra: Mood Music for Time Travelers

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As saxophonist/founder Russ Gershon has noted, the 25-year history of the Either/Orchestra constitutes a quarter of jazz's eventful history. The changes in this large ensemble's music in part reflect wider trends and at the same time are the results of an organic evolution as members have come and gone. In the early years, Gershon plumbed the jazz cannon for repertory in addition to composing original material. However, arrangements of songs by Bob Dylan, Bing Crosby and Robert Fripp pointed to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Either/Orchestra: Mood Music for Time Travellers

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The past 25 years have been a time of transition for The Either/Orchestra. Members have come and gone and come back again. Their music has imbibed several styles and genres and grown all the richer. One of the sagest moves they made was the long, and fruitful, collaboration with Ethiopian music and with musicians that included Mahmoud Ahmed, Getachew Mekurya and Mulatu Astatke,For this recording, Russ Gershon wrote a couple of tunes geared to the organ after he ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Either/Orchestra: Mood Music For Time Travellers

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A sense of calm and well-being pervades the Either/Orchestra's Mood Music For Time Travellers, investing its ten tunes with a warmth and good humor that makes the music immediately accessible, and also hides some of the compositions' complexities. It's a calm that comes from experience and confidence, this album celebrating Either/Orchestra's 25th year. The Massachusetts-based group, led by saxophonist and composer Russ Gershon, has a strong reputation for its work with Ethiopian musicians on albums such as ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Jazz & Ethiopia: Etenesh & Le Tigre & Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra

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Eténèsh Wassié & Le Tigre (des Platanes) Eténèsh Wassié & Le Tigre (des Platanes) Budamusique 2007 Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra Budamusique 2007

Ethiopia, the first African country to gain independence, has a rich musical heritage of native songs and instruments and state-sponsored brass bands, mixed with various ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra: Ethiogroove

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Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra Ethiogroove Buda Musique 2007

Either/Orchestra has found a unique groove in Ethiopian music. Russ Gershon, the leader of the 10- piece big band, included three Ethiopian tunes on the ensemble's CD, More Beautiful Than Death (Accurate Records, 2000). Gershon continued to incorporate Ethiopian music into the band's repertoire. In 2004, Either/Orchestra traveled to Addis to play at a concert with Ethiopian musicians. The exciting and energetic performance is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Either/Orchestra: Ethiopiques 20: Live in Addis

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In January 2004, the Either/Orchestra went to Ethiopia to play at the Ethiopian Music Festival. The band has always been flexible in its vision, and so it comes as no surprise that the group decided to play Ethiopian music (the musicians were already familiar with it, having recorded “The Ethiopian Suite on More Beautiful Than Death). A natural progression was to invite Ethiopian musicians to join the group as guests. And so they got Gétatchèw Mèkurya, Mulatu Astatqé, Tsèdènia Gèbrè-Marqos, ...

OPINION

The Perfect Jazz Audience on Record... From Ethiopia

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Not to add to the many rave reviews that have been justly offered on this site, I want to concentrate on just two facets of this completely remarkable recording. Worthy of this narrow a focus is “Shellela," a nearly eight minute “concerto" for the Ethiopian saxophonist Getachew Mekurya and the Either/Orchestra, and the audience response heard during this particular performance. An appalling number of live jazz recordings showcase inattentive audiences, some boorishly so, as the recent box ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Either/Orchestra: Ethiopiques 20: Live in Addis

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Live in Addis, the latest release by the Either/Orchestra, provides a superb example of the way Russ Gershon, E/O's founder and main composer/arranger, keeps the band fresh and exciting by always moving into new territory and never standing still. The path that led to this historic concert has already been described in these pages, but the more important thing is how Ethiopian popular music is refracted through the peculiar lens of Gershon and company to produce something ...


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