Hello Russ and all:
I attended the performance in Natick Saturday as a guest of Tom Halter. It was the most extraordinary musical performance I have heard/seen in years. I was amazed and inspired by all aspects of the show. Each musician has a unique musical persona, each brilliantly highlighted on occasion throughout the course of the program. Each musician is regarded with respect by his counterparts and all shine as individuals and in combo. It must be an incredible experience to be an onstage player in this band: just to be in the audience was a joy- I can only imagine how much fun it must be to be playing the music. The wonderful melodies- especially those doubled in unison or octaves- and counterlines, multi-rhythmics, celestial harmonies and progressions - both concordant and discordant (at times I heard all six brass players combining to form chord progressions that boggled my mind!) - I was transported to a mind space I find impossible to describe...wow... I even heard something I can't ever recall hearing in a jazz band or combo - a sudden change in the dynamic volume of the arrangement- cycling from a middle volume section of the piece suddenly into a fortissimo section then back into a recurring cycle.
This performance was too much for my ears to handle in a way - a sensory overload. There were so many different ideas on so many different levels to hear and absorb, always changing, often surprising... each individual contributing an essential part to the whole as soloist or one of a duo or trio or combining to full section. (For example, I knew that by choosing to listen to an individual part that caught my attention, I would be missing some other part that I would want to have concentrated on also.)
I could keep on trying to put in words what I find impossible to describe. Let me end by saying that the Either/Orchestra is an amazing musical venture on its own merits. It also is inspiring to think that the band is continuing one of the great American musical traditions, big band jazz - not as an archivist player of the past- but as a fresh breath of energy and new life to the medium. This gives me hope for the future of music and for the future of a humanity capable of creating such transcendent wonders. Being a composer of music myself, I look forward to my next experience of the live performance so that I can continue to absorb the beauty of what I have just heard. There is much I can and want to learn from this extraordinary musical ensemble. And I dare say that one of my goals as a composer is to eventually write a piece for this band to play.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You All for creating this great music!