Back in action: the Either/Orchestra with special guest
@ the Regattabar, November 10, 2016
After a hiatus of almost a year, the Either/Orchestra is swinging back
into action with one of their favorite guest performers, legendary
Ethiopian singer Teshome Mitiku. Teshome's entrancing voice and
lyrics meet their perfect match in the E/O's Afro-Caribbean rhythms and
rich horn arrangements.
Western pop music hit Ethiopia hard in the 1950s and 60s, and the
most popular Western-style combo was the Soul Ekos, featuring the
singing of Teshome. Under the guidance of Ethio-jazz creator Mulatu
Astatke, Teshome and the band recorded a number of songs that have stood
the test of time amongst Ethiopians worldwide. The inclusion of four of
them on the prestigious "Ethiopiques, Volume 1" has introduced Teshome
to an international audience in recent years.
In 1970, Teshome was forced out of Ethiopia by Emperor Haile
Selassie's government, and has lived in Sweden and the US since. In
1998, Either/Orchestra leader Russ Gershon heard Teshome's "Yezamed
Yebada" and arranged it for his Grammy-nominated 10 piece band. Teshome heard the E/O's version on the radio in Washington, D.C.,
and contacted Gershon, striking up a friendship and collaboration that
has yielded performances in Cambridge and New York, and also headlining
the Chicago Jazz Festival in front of 20,000 people.
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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.
At either-orchestra.org you can link to music samples and internet stores, find a complete discography and further information.
Tom Halter: trumpet
Dan Rosenthal: trumpet
Joel Yennior: trombone
Mark Zaleski: reeds
Russ Gershon: reeds
Charlie Kohlhase: bari sax
Gilson Schachnik: piano
Rick McLaughlin: bass
Oscar Suchanek: drums
Vicente Lebron: congas
tel/text: (617) 899-9685
343 Medford St. Suite 4A, Somerville MA 02145 USA
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