Either/Orchestra Announces November 17-20 Northeast Mini-Tour; Dates in Cambridge MA, Fairfield CT, New York City, Troy NY

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Boston's 10-piece Either/Orchestra will play four dates to premier bandleader Russ Gershon's new suite, The Collected Unconscious, funded by Chamber Music America. Based on the scales and rhythms of Ethiopian music, the new piece features jazz swing, Latin energy, big-band precision and unforgettable melodies. The program will also include Haile Selassie-era music the E/O featured during their May 2011 tour of Ethiopia

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The Either/Orchestra at last year's 25th Anniversary Alumni Concert. Photo by Eric Antoniou. Pictured: John Carlson, Rafael Alcala, Dan Fox, Russ Gershon, Josh Roseman, Miguel Zenon, Hailey Niswanger, Charlie Kohlhase and Kurtis Rivers.

The Either/Orchestra, hailed by Downbeat.com as "the best little big-band ever," will embark on a four date Northeast mini-tour from November 17-20. Dates will be at the Lily Pad in Cambridge MA at 7:30 on November 17; The Fairfield (CT) Theater Company Stage One at 7:30 on November 18; The New School Tishman Auditorium in NYC at 2 pm on November 19; and The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY at 3 pm on November 20. (Hyperlinks to the venues below.)

The concerts will premiere The Collected Unconscious, a new suite composed by band founder Russ Gershon and based in the pentatonic modes of and triple rhythms of Ethiopian music. The language of the suite goes far beyond those parameters, recalling Ellington, Mingus, Tito Puente, Sun Ra and others in its broad scope. Based on a September sneak preview in Cambridge MA, audiences will find it moving and nostalgic as well as hot, exciting and challenging.

The program will also include musical highlights from the band’s May 2011 tour of Ethiopia. The tour was sponsored by the US, French and Spanish governments and revived music written by Nerses Nalbandian, an Armenian expatriate who shaped modern Ethiopian music from his position as music director of the Haile Selassie National Theater during the 1950s and 60s.

The Either/Orchestra (E/O) has a 14-year relationship with the music of Ethiopia, and its members have become the jazz world's leading non-Ethiopian players of this music. May 2011 was their second visit to that country; the first, in 2004, yielded the Ethiopiques 20: Live in Addis CD, which received rave reviews: "Astonishing...monumental...the best live album of the year-in any genre," - Paul Olson, AllAboutJazz.com; "a total triumph" - Budd Kopman, AllAboutJazz.com; "Incredible" -Tim Perlich, Now Magazine, Toronto; "[A] completely remarkable recording." - Norman Weinstein, AllAboutJazz.com; "Sends the senses into the very heart and soul of communal human love...A force that dares to break barriers." -Lofton A. Emenari III, WHPK, Chicago

This tour is enabled by funding from Chamber Music America. In 2010, Gershon received this New York-based organization's prestigious Jazz New Works grant, which has afforded him time to write a major piece and funding to pay the musicians for performances. The NYC show is free of charge, the other ticket prices are modest.

Founded in 1985 by Gershon, the ten-piece Either/Orchestra is New England's premier jazz ensemble, Grammy nominees and perennial poll-winners. Their live show is a dazzling blend of Latin rhythms, precision big-band ensemble work and exotic Ethiopian sounds. A colorful six-piece horn section is matched by a rhythm section of piano, bass, drums and congas, including musicians from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Brazil. Their performances are fun and broadly appealing, sophisticated and uplifting. Critics and audiences worldwide have savored the E/O's music through over 1000 performances, 11 CDs and a DVD.

The E/O has played at Lincoln Center, the Glastonbury (UK) Pop Festival, the Chicago, Monterey, Toronto, North Sea, Vancouver and many other major jazz festivals, theaters in Milan, Stockholm, Helsinki, Paris, Rome, Germany, Portugal, Uganda, Russia and clubs everywhere. They are known for crossing over to non-jazz audiences with their fiery and exciting show. Hard-core jazz fans appreciate the great playing and arrangements, general audiences connect instantly with the personalities, deep grooves and memorable melodies.

Over the past year, in celebration of its 25th anniversary, the E/O convened spectacular alumni reunion concerts in Boston and NYC which featured 28 musicians including such luminaries as Miguel Zenon, John Medeski, Josh Roseman and Matt Wilson.

The Either/Orchestra is...

Tom Halter - trumpet
Dan Rosenthal - trumpet
Joel Yennior - trombone
Hailey Niswanger - alto saxophone, flute
Russ Gershon - tenor, soprano saxophone
Charlie Kohlhase - baritone saxophone
Gilson Schachnik - piano, organ
Rick McLaughlin - bass
Pablo Bencid - drums
Vicente Lebron - congas, percussion


Either/Orchestra Tour Dates:

Thursday, November 17: The Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge MA. The show is at 7:30 pm. Suggested donation is $12. 212-229-5488, "http://www.lily-pad.net/archives/2011/11/17/index.html#005779"

Friday, November 18: Fairfield Theater Company Stage One, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield, CT. The show is at 7:30 pm. Tickets $25. FTC member discount: $5; price: Jazzy Tapas Buffet, Meet & Greet and Concert: $40/$35person; (203) 259-1036 "http://fairfieldtheatre.org/calendar/"

Saturday, November 19: Tishman Auditorium, 66 W. 12th Street, NYC on . The show is at 2 pm and is free and open to the public. 212-229-5488, "http://www.newschool.edu/"

Sunday, November 20: The Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Avenue, North Troy, New York. The show is at 3 pm. Tickets are $10. (518) 272-2390. 212-229-5488, "http://www.mediasanctuary.org/"


"Dependably marvelous" –Richard Gehr, Village Voice

"The best little big band ever." –Frank Alkyer, Down Beat

"A force that dares to break barriers." –Lofton A. Emenari III, WHPK, Chicago

"...a warmth and good humor that makes the music immediately accessible...fabulous musicians, performing terrific music with great creative skill." –Bruce Lindsay, allaboutjazz.com

"Serious chops and courageous experimentation with a strong sense of entertainment and subtle humor...for 25 years the Either/Orchestra has given much both to audiences and [the musicians] who've passed through its ranks." –Jeff Tamarkin, JazzTimes

"Boston's ten-piece Either/Orchestra makes its own rules." –Brad Farberman, Time Out New York

"One of the few bands around equally at home at the Vision Festival, the Roseland Ballroom or CBGB." –Will Friedwald, Wall Street Journal

"...individual virtuosity, a devotion to strong melodic lines, a wry wit, a love of excitement and surprise, a genuine fellow-feeling on the bandstand, and feedback from audience regulars that makes performances feel something like family reunions." –Steve Elman, artsfuse.org


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Russ Gershon
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