Either/Orchestra: More Beautiful Than Death
Either/Orchestra ends a four-year hiatus with this hip, grooving, eclectic album. An Afro-latin theme runs through the program: driving 12/8 African grooves on "Amiak Abet Abet" and "Feker Aydelmwey," a calypso/mariachi vibe on "Breaktime for Dougo," salsa claves on "Number Three" and "Slow Mambo for J.J." Yet the Afro-latin references are broken up with the Ellington-style slow blues of "All Those SOB’s," the 70s funk beats of "Musicawi Silt" and "The Eighth Wonder," and the dramatic jazz waltz of "More Beautiful Than Death."
Bandleader Russ Gershon’s tenor saxophone takes center stage on the title track; his soprano is featured on "Feker Aydelmwey." Other prominent soloists among the orchestra’s ten members are trumpeter Tom Halter, alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, and pianist Dan Kaufman, who doubles effectively on Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and Hammond B-3 organ, giving some of the music a wonderfully uncontrived retro feel.