More Beautiful Than Death

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Sal D'Agostino
Either/Orchestra, founded in 1985 by saxophonist Russ Gershon, is a ten-piece alternative outfit that will be readily appreciated by fans of Sun Ra, Dave Douglas, and Charles Mingus. MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN DEATH may be a bubbling stew of African and Latin rhythms, yet the orchestra never lets you forget they're a jazz band. "The Eighth Wonder" is pure '60s funk, with Dan Kaufman on Fender Rhodes, Gershon on tenor, and trombonist Joel Yennior all strutting soulfully. Trumpeter Tom Halter reaches into the gutbucket on "All Those Sobs," a slow boiler that evokes a smoky 1950s strip club, although the slightly off-kilter harmonies remind you it's 2000. The most intriguing ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Sal D'Agostino
Either/Orchestra, founded in 1985 by saxophonist Russ Gershon, is a ten-piece alternative outfit that will be readily appreciated by fans of Sun Ra, Dave Douglas, and Charles Mingus. MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN DEATH may be a bubbling stew of African and Latin rhythms, yet the orchestra never lets you forget they're a jazz band. "The Eighth Wonder" is pure '60s funk, with Dan Kaufman on Fender Rhodes, Gershon on tenor, and trombonist Joel Yennior all strutting soulfully. Trumpeter Tom Halter reaches into the gutbucket on "All Those Sobs," a slow boiler that evokes a smoky 1950s strip club, although the slightly off-kilter harmonies remind you it's 2000. The most intriguing cut, though, is the opener, "Amiak Abet Abet," the first installment of the "Ethiopian Suite." A hard-charging horn ensemble theme, played over an insistent bass line and the clicking of drummer Harvey Wirht's sticks, gives way to an aggressive solo by Halter before altoist Jaleel Shaw brings it back down to earth, almost. A real sleeper of a CD from a band that deserves to be heard.
All Music Guide - Matthew Robinson
For their first album in four years, a renewed and re-personnelled Either/Orchestra dips into their own archives and also into the far reaches of ethnomusicology. Along with a half-dozen compositions by founder/leader/sax man Russ Gershon, the E/O have arranged a trio of popular tunes from Ethiopia into a disjointed suite which runs throughout the album. In the Brubeck-ian first installment, "Amiak Abet Abet," Gershon and longtime E/O trumpeter Tom Halter take vocal roles amid elephantine brass blasts. "Musicawi Silt" is a Hammond-tinged noir-y polyrhythm created by the band through a year of live performance. Gershon takes the lyrical line again for "Feker Aydelmwey," but the rhythm line is much more dramatic and responsive than in the other parts. The album's epic title track is more than true to its name, sweeping in with Gil Evans horns and tumbling drums then cooling to a slow swing. The second song, "Number Three," is a funky doubled-bass number, while "Breaktime for Dougo" has a distinctive calypso flair. A high low point of the album is "All Those SOBs," a sluggishly bluesy tribute to the wonderful people who make the music industry what it is. And it all ends up with the appropriately titled ninth track, "Eighth Wonder," a slowly twirling combo of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" with a touch of Little Stevie Wonder.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/21/2000
  • Label: Accurate Records
  • UPC: 743431328229
  • Catalog Number: 3282

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Either/Orchestra Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Charlie Kohlhase Baritone Saxophone
Russ Gershon Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Tom Halter Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Harvey Wright Drums
Atemu Aton Bass
Miguel Zenón Alto Saxophone
Rick McLaughlin Bass
Joel Yennior Trombone
Colin Fisher Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Vicente Lebron Percussion, Bongos, Conga
Jaleel Shaw Alto Saxophone
Technical Credits
Russ Gershon Producer, Cover Design
Mike Peters Engineer
Jonathan Wyner Mastering
Matthew Ellard Engineer
Eric Pfeiffer Visual Consultant
Scott Eisenberg Engineer
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