Either/Orchestra

On-and-off for over 15 years, Boston's ten-piece Either/Orchestra has performed engagingly idiosyncratic large-ensemble jazz while serving as a formative workshop for musicians who have received significant popular and critical recognition in their post-E/O careers. Since the band's inception in 1985, the guiding force behind Either/Orchestra has always been composer and tenor/soprano saxophonist Russ Gershon. Under Gershon's leadership, the ensemble has successfully balanced serious musicianship and respect for the jazz tradition with a quirky and sometimes off-the-wall sense of humor. Gershon and various other bandmembers have composed much original E/O material, but the group is also known for its sometimes reverent, sometimes irreverent covers of both jazz and non-jazz repertoire. Almost any material is fair game for reinterpretation according to Either/Orchestra's all-encompassing view of the musical world: compositions by Ellington, Mingus, and Monk should come as no surprise, but tunes by Bacharach, Dylan, and even Robert Fripp and Bobbie Gentry also find their way into E/O recordings and live performances. Either/Orchestra revels in delivering the unexpected and is forever throwing curves at the listener. While deftly mixing idioms, E/O consistently meets the expectations of the best large-ensemble jazz; the band's members solo with both passion and skill, navigate complex charts, and swing with abandon.