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July/August 2003

Either Orchestra
Afro-Cubism
Accurate Records

The cubist reference in the title of the latest release of the idiosyncratic Either Orchestra is not accidental. Afro-Cubism (Accurate) forays into a Latinized jazz big band aesthetic with unusual power and expression. Numerous sides and sights from the six compositional objects are simultaneously represented through harmonic fragmentations and melodic interpenetrations of assorted rhythmic outlines and plane surfaces. "Blue Attitude" is a continuous accentuation and disruption of interpretive and harmonic conceptual planes, with Picasso-like stridencies, luring qualitative geometrical solos to the forefront. As in cubism, the meaning of this power-packed group is in the structure of their style. Daring, thoroughly unpredictable, swift, mega-hip, committed at times to be as dense as a neutron star, these musicians' approach does not lack musicality, curiosity or thematic diversity. In "Soul Song," producer, arranger, composer and tenor saxophonist Russ Gershon entices listeners with an affecting head with emotive consequences felt through the first third of the tune. One is then slapped by a transitional montuno figure as prelude to a tasty-yet-nasty-in-the-pocket Rhodes piano solo that roams at will toward full frontal tight heat at the hands of the timbales marching onward to the cinematic coda. Technical prowess, feeling and intellect rarely combine like this.

Originally published in July/August 2003
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