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Jazz Listening Session #5 with Russ Gershon, via Zoom:
A Mingus Masterpiece: "Meditations On Integration"


Two separate takes including live discussion with attendees:
Thursday June 3, 7-9 PM EDT Register here
Saturday June 12, 3-5 PM EDT Register here  

Bassist and occasional pianist Charles Mingus was one of the great composers of the 20th Century. Innovative in melody, harmony and rhythm, and overflowing with emotion, his music also expanded the dimensions of form in improvised music. He was a master of blues and standard forms, but brought new kinds of extended hybrid forms to jazz, as well as new levels of intricacy to repeating “song” forms.


JLS#5 will concentrate on one of his many masterpieces, “Meditations On Integration” (1964). The extended work was composed for his sextet of that year, featuring the genius multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, top level tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, trumpeter Johnny Coles, vastly under appreciated pianist Jaki Byard and Mingus’s other half at the drums, Danny Richmond.


The group debuted the piece at concerts in NYC and at Cornell University, and then took it on the road for a three week tour of Europe. Part way through the tour, Dolphy told Mingus that he would be staying in Europe at the end, and leaving Mingus’s group for the second time (the first was after a period in 1960-61).

Two months following the end of the tour, Dolphy died after receiving inadequate medical treatment for diabetic shock in Berlin.


Our session will take a close look at the elements that go into this complex and beautiful piece, from the structural features to the dazzling range of stylistic references and innovations that the musicians brought to the group. We will look at transcriptions of several performances, many of which were fortunately recorded and even filmed by European producers.


Spotify playlist, which will evolve from now till the session HERE

Documents, including links to many performances on YouTube HERE

Live performance of "Meditations" from April 19, 1964 (mislabeled as "by Eric Dolphy"):



Bassist and occasional pianist Charles Mingus was one of the great composers of the 20th Century. Innovative in melody, harmony and rhythm, and overflowing with emotion, his music also expanded the dimensions of form in improvised music. He was a master of blues and standard forms, but brought new kinds of extended hybrid forms to jazz, as well as new levels of intricacy to repeating “song” forms.
JLS#5 will concentrate on one of his many masterpieces, “Meditations On Integration” (1964). The extended work was composed for his sextet of that year, featuring the genius multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, top level tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, trumpeter Johnny Coles, vastly under appreciated pianist Jaki Byard and Mingus’s other half at the drums, Danny Richmond.
The group debuted the piece at concerts in NYC and at Cornell University, and then took it on the road for a three week tour of Europe. Part way through the tour, Dolphy told Mingus that he would be staying in Europe at the end, and leaving Mingus’s group for the second time (the first was after a period in 1960-61).
Two months following the end of the tour, Dolphy died after receiving inadequate medical treatment for diabetic shock in Berlin.
Our session will take a close look at the elements that go into this complex and beautiful piece, from the structural features to the dazzling range of stylistic references and innovations that the musicians brought to the group. We will look at transcriptions of several performances, many of which were fortunately recorded and even filmed by European producers.
Just Kissed My Baby...to raise funds for the 
Every year Cambridge musician Shaun Wolf Wortis puts together a rollicking Mardi Gras party to raise funds for a worthy cause and fun for all of us.
?A virtual party this year, a panoply of local luminaries will proffer videos produced in their basements and bunkers.
?The recipient of the virtual attendee's real largesse will be the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.
?
Either/Orchestra leader Russ Gershon has worked up a version of the Meters' ultra-funky "Just Kissed My Baby" with the help of Mike Castellana's guitars and Andy Plaisted's mixing acumen, and added a video that reminds us of things we have been missing of late and hope to get back soon. You're gonna love it...*
?Please join the fun on Tuesday at 8 pm, and even if you can't, consider a donation to the Clinic. We know that times are tough for many lately, so admission charge for the party is $0 to $20.
?
Event Facebook page
*the video will be posted here after the premiereEvery year Cambridge musician Shaun Wolf Wortis puts together a rollicking Mardi Gras party to raise funds for a worthy cause and fun for all of us. A virtual party this year, a panoply of local luminaries will proffer videos produced in their basements and bunkers.  
I was invited to contribute a song video to Wolf's Virtual Mardi Gras Ball which premiered on Fat Tuesday, alongside an array a fine contributions from musicians all over the country.

Mike Castellana of the great Blue Ribbons and many other bands plays guitars; I played all the other instruments and did the singing; Andy Plaisted mixed the track.

The Virtual Ball may be over, but you can still donate to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic any time to help them with their great work.

Thanks,
Russ Gershon
A virtual party this year, a panoply of local luminaries will proffer videos produced in their basements and bunkers.
?The recipient of the virtual attendee's real largesse will be the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.

?A virtual party this year, a panoply of local luminaries will proffer videos produced in their basements and bunkers.
?The recipient of the virtual attendee's real largesse will be the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.
?
Either/Orchestra leader Russ Gershon has worked up a version of the Meters' ultra-funky "Just Kissed My Baby" with the help of Mike Castellana's guitars and Andy Plaisted's mixing acumen, and added a video that reminds us of things we have been missing of late and hope to get back soon. You're gonna love it...*
?Please join the fun on Tuesday at 8 pm, and even if you can't, consider a donation to the Clinic. We know that times are tough for many lately, so admission charge for the party is $0 to $20.
?
Event Facebook page
*the video will be posted here after the premiere
Every year Cambridge musician Shaun Wolf Wortis puts together a rollicking Mardi Gras party to raise funds for a worthy cause and fun for all of us.
?A virtual party this year, a panoply of local luminaries will proffer videos produced in their basements and bunkers.
?The recipient of the virtual attendee's real largesse will be the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.
?
Either/Orchestra leader Russ Gershon has worked up a version of the Meters' ultra-funky "Just Kissed My Baby" with the help of Mike Castellana's guitars and Andy Plaisted's mixing acumen, and added a video that reminds us of things we have been missing of late and hope to get back soon. You're gonna love it...*
?Please join the fun on Tuesday at 8 pm, and even if you can't, consider a donation to the Clinic. We know that times are tough for many lately, so admission charge for the party is $0 to $20.
?
Event Facebook page
*the video will be posted here after the premiere
Music by Russ Gershon

For the past eight years, the end of July has found me improvising music to accompany "Quarry Dance" at various locations on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Dusan Tynek choreographs his dancers in a variety of setting around, on and sometimes inside of the beautiful rocks, trees and water found in these settings.


The 2020 challenge for Dusan and his dancers was to transform what have been in the past ensemble works performed in front of sizable in-person audiences into something safe and appropriate for pandemic times. With the help of videographer Anders Johnson, they created intimate takes within grand settings, using smaller groupings and and the power of the closeup.


Instead of improvising on a series of instruments in response to the dancers, setting and audience, I locked myself in my dimly lit studio and created a variety of music, using virtual instruments, that is, samples and synthesizers. You can hear drum ensembles, all kinds of keyboards, woodwinds and percussion, along with sounds of nature. 


As with the live Quarry Dances, the choreography was created first and the music in response. For musicians and others interested in such things, there was no click track or sequencing used except a drum loop on one of the fourteen segments. I'll leave it to you to guess which one...


Hundreds attended the online premiere and Q&A sessions a month ago, but for those who were unable – and those who want to enjoy the work again – as of today the entire 34 minute dance is available for viewing at your pleasure.


As always, I thank Dusan, Alex, Jessie, Liz and Gary, and this year for the first time, Anders, for their extraordinary work. And I give special thanks for the opportunity to Windhover Executive Director Lisa Hahn, who carries on her late mother Ina Hahn's vision of Quarry Dance and Windhover.


And it's FREE

Quarry Dance is produced by the Windhover Performing Arts Center

For the past eight years, the end of July has found me improvising music to accompany "Quarry Dance" at various locations on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Dusan Tynek choreographs his dancers in a variety of setting around, on and sometimes inside of the beautiful rocks, trees and water found in these settings. 

The 2020 challenge for Dusan and his dancers was to transform what have been in the past ensemble works performed in front of sizable in-person audiences into something safe and appropriate for pandemic times. With the help of videographer Anders Johnson, they created intimate takes within grand settings, using smaller groupings and and the power of the closeup. 

Instead of improvising on a series of instruments in response to the dancers, setting and audience, I locked myself in my dimly lit studio and created a variety of music, using virtual instruments, that is, samples and synthesizers. You can hear drum ensembles, all kinds of  keyboards, woodwinds and percussion, along with sounds of nature. As with the live Quarry Dances, the choreography was created first and the music in response. For musicians and others interested in such things, there was no click track or sequencing used except a drum loop on one of the fourteen segments. I'll leave it to you to guess which one...

Hundreds attended the online premiere and Q&A sessions a month ago, but for those who were unable – and those who want to enjoy the work again – as of today the entire 34 minute dance is available for viewing at your pleasure. 

As always, I thank Dusan, Alex, Jessie, Liz and Gary, and this year for the first time, Anders, for their extraordinary work. And I give special thanks for the opportunity to Windhover Executive Director Lisa Hahn, who carries on her late mother Ina Hahn's vision of Quarry Dance and Windhover.



For the past eight years, the end of July has found me improvising music to accompany "Quarry Dance" at various locations on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Dusan Tynek choreographs his dancers in a variety of setting around, on and sometimes inside of the beautiful rocks, trees and water found in these settings. 

The 2020 challenge for Dusan and his dancers was to transform what have been in the past ensemble works performed in front of sizable in-person audiences into something safe and appropriate for pandemic times. With the help of videographer Anders Johnson, they created intimate takes within grand settings, using smaller groupings and and the power of the closeup. 

Instead of improvising on a series of instruments in response to the dancers, setting and audience, I locked myself in my dimly lit studio and created a variety of music, using virtual instruments, that is, samples and synthesizers. You can hear drum ensembles, all kinds of  keyboards, woodwinds and percussion, along with sounds of nature. As with the live Quarry Dances, the choreography was created first and the music in response. For musicians and others interested in such things, there was no click track or sequencing used except a drum loop on one of the fourteen segments. I'll leave it to you to guess which one...

Hundreds attended the online premiere and Q&A sessions a month ago, but for those who were unable – and those who want to enjoy the work again – as of today the entire 34 minute dance is available for viewing at your pleasure. 

As always, I thank Dusan, Alex, Jessie, Liz and Gary, and this year for the first time, Anders, for their extraordinary work. And I give special thanks for the opportunity to Windhover Executive Director Lisa Hahn, who carries on her late mother Ina Hahn's vision of Quarry Dance and Windhover.

For the past eight years, the end of July has found me improvising music to accompany "Quarry Dance" at various locations on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Dusan Tynek choreographs his dancers in a variety of setting around, on and sometimes inside of the beautiful rocks, trees and water found in these settings. 

The 2020 challenge for Dusan and his dancers was to transform what have been in the past ensemble works performed in front of sizable in-person audiences into something safe and appropriate for pandemic times. With the help of videographer Anders Johnson, they created intimate takes within grand settings, using smaller groupings and and the power of the closeup. 

Instead of improvising on a series of instruments in response to the dancers, setting and audience, I locked myself in my dimly lit studio and created a variety of music, using virtual instruments, that is, samples and synthesizers. You can hear drum ensembles, all kinds of  keyboards, woodwinds and percussion, along with sounds of nature. As with the live Quarry Dances, the choreography was created first and the music in response. For musicians and others interested in such things, there was no click track or sequencing used except a drum loop on one of the fourteen segments. I'll leave it to you to guess which one...

Hundreds attended the online premiere and Q&A sessions a month ago, but for those who were unable – and those who want to enjoy the work again – as of today the entire 34 minute dance is available for viewing at your pleasure. 

As always, I thank Dusan, Alex, Jessie, Liz and Gary, and this year for the first time, Anders, for their extraordinary work. And I give special thanks for the opportunity to Windhover Executive Director Lisa Hahn, who carries on her late mother Ina Hahn's vision of Quarry Dance and Windhover
We miss you! The Either/Orchestra had played a couple of great shows, one with our dear friend Teshome Mitiku, and were gearing up to start playing regularly, when history intervened. Like everybody in society at large, and especially all of us in the performing arts, we having to adapt.

I've kept busy on all kinds of recording projects, mostly in my own studio; various other E/O members have been teaching via the internet and playing a few outdoor gigs here and there. We're all aware that the cold weather is going end that, and I think most of us are setting practicing or composing goals to keep our creativity alive. 

I had a bout of Covid very early on, in mid-March, and barely escaped hospitalization. It's not a hoax, nor is it something you want to have. Follow reasonable distancing and masking procedures. Our knowledge of the disease is evolving monthly, so follow credible, science-based news sources to keep up on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus. 

We look forward to playing together, playing new music and playing for you when that becomes possible again. Until then, I'll keep you updated on recordings and online events, like the one below....

Stay safe and at least half sane

Russ Gershon

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Founded in 1985 by saxophonist & composer Russ Gershon, the ten-piece Either/Orchestra, based in Somerville MA, is one of the jazz world's most long-lived and distinguished groups.  Alumni include jazz stars such as John Medeski, Matt Wilson, Miguel Zenon, Jaleel Shaw & Josh Roseman.

The E/O, featuring a six piece horn section, piano, bass, drums and congas, has put its stamp on just about every style of jazz, from big band, swing and bop to Latin jazz, electric and avant-garde.  The last decade or more has found the band absorbing an Afro-Caribbean influence through a succession of Latino members. 

More unusually, the E/O has become deeply involved with Ethiopian music, touring there and collaborating with many Ethiopian greats of the outstanding 1960's generation.  Mulatu Astatke, Mahmoud Ahmed and Teshome Mitiku are among the band's favorites.  The Ethiopian connection includes the double CD Ethiopíques 20: Live in Addis and the DVD Ethiogroove: Mahmoud Ahmed and Either/Orchestra.

Over the years, the E/O has been recognized with five Boston Music Awards, perennial placement in the Big Band category of the Down Beat International Critics Poll, and leader Gershon was nominated for an arranging Grammy for his composition "Bennie Moten's Weird Nightmare," included in The Calculus of Pleasure.



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Personnel:

Tom Halter: trumpet
Dan Rosenthal: trumpet
Joel Yennior: trombone
Mark Zaleski: reeds
Russ Gershon: reeds
Charlie Kohlhase: bari sax
Jeff D'Antona: piano
Rick McLaughlin: bass
Brooke Sofferman: drums
Vicente Lebron: congas
info@accuraterecords.com
tel/text: (617) 899-9685
343 Medford St. Suite 4A, Somerville MA 02145 USA
copyright 1985-2020 Either/Orchestra