The Everyone Orchestra – Brooklyn Sessions
2.) Explore Space
3.) Hold Tight
4.) Bass Blanket
5.) Funk Explosion
6.) Take Off Your Clothes
8.) Talk To Me
The Pier Album Rating:
Record Label: Harmonized Records
Release Date: May 15th, 2012
Official Website: Everyone Orchestra’s Website
In 2001, the multi-instrumentalist Matt Butler conceived an idea that would bend the boundaries of modern improvisational music. His aim was to create a contagious synergy amongst a set a highly-gifted musicians as well as to invite more audience participation. The Everyone Orchestra is an evolving project that embraces the musical athleticism of a rotating cast of musicians and the sensitivity of high-powered conducting. For the first time in 2012, Matt Butler wanted to present their in-the-moment composition dexterity from the studio-side, rather than from a stage.
By means of hand gestures, vocal cues, and notes scribbled on a whiteboard, Matt Butler is able to spark ideas and encourage musicians to dig deeper, composing electrifying songs on the fly. On January 17 and 18th 2011, Matt Butler invited a cast of brilliant musicians and vocalists to Brooklyn Recording Studio to capture the impulse-driven inventiveness in a controlled atmosphere. For The Brooklyn Sessions, Matt Butler invited Jon Fishman (Phish), Jeff Coffin (The Dave Matthews band), Al Schnier (Moe.), Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf green), Steve Kimock, Marco Benevento, Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Jamie Masefield (The Jazz Mandolin Project), and Jans Ingber (The Motet) to contribute.
On January 6th, Everyone Orchestra’ kickstarter project successfully earned $15,000 and the project took off. Their debut improv album Brooklyn Sessions features eight songs, each dipping into a different musical tangent. This summer, The Everyone Orchestra will perform at major festivals such as Summer Camp Music Festival, 4 Peaks Music Festival, and The All Good Music Festival. Matt Butler’s quirky-conductor persona counterparts a unique ability to channel musical energy by means of abstract gestures and signals.
The Everyone Orchestra’s debut album, The Brooklyn Sessions is a creative exemplar for organized spontaneity. Befittingly so, Jam bands are often improv-savvy. EO combines on-the-spot harmonious conception of sound with the habitual role of an orchestral conductor. For the Brooklyn Sessions, conductor Matt Butler invited musicians from some of the nation’s most iconic jam bands to mutually explore the limits of inventive synergy through an exposé of jazz, blues, and rock n’ roll.
Musically, EO wandered multiple avenues including jazz, blues, and rock–but what do you expect from a formal gathering of jam band instrumentalists? With that, the Brooklyn Sessions features eight songs that veer along a spectrum of organic sounding rhythms. Songs such as Boots unfurl with a jazzy liveliness, while Talk To Me asserts a dawdling bluesy front with a chopped pace.
The brass instrumentalists put forth a jazzy presence as one would expect. My favorite instrumental jam is Take Off Your Clothes, an abounding eight-minute solo exchange between the keys, the saxophone, and the guitars. The soloists battled for the fastest finger work, with notes bubbling at paces ostensibly unmatched. Pensive on the other hand, is a rather tranquil piece with limited percussion. The title itself pinpoints the associative emotions that materialize through the acoustics.
Hold Tight is my favorite on the Brooklyn Sessions. The melody carries upon a rich piano/keys riff and has a catchy lyrical theme to it as well. As you could imagine by the title, the piece is about hanging tough during times of struggle. The Everyone Orchestra exhibits that having unique vocals doesn’t always entail having the vocal chords of Freddie Mercury. It means singing through your emotions and capably linking a melodious atmosphere. Talk To Me follows along the same ropes, as Jen Hartswick and Jans Ingber duel about the sadness and desperation that result from loneliness.
The Everyone Orchestra’s debut studio project may be short-lived, but is truly a reputable collection through ingenious means. The several musicians who jammed at Matt Butler’s wave-of-the-wand recordings in Brooklyn have a girth of musical talents, which inevitably created the ultimate outlet for artistic synergy. However with their tremendous reputation as live performers, The Everyone Orchestra has me wondering if The Brooklyn Sessions is rather a condensed glimpse at their true capabilities; being eight songs and all. Either way this cast of musicians do belong in a jam-band atmosphere, and the concepts that form The Everyone Orchestra provides the perfect opportunity for just that
Written & Reviewed By: Matt Emodi
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it's entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]
Learn more about Matt Butler and The Everyone Orchestra by watching this short documentary:
Here is a short live clip. The dry erase boards, the conducting, and improvisations in motion!