Through Divine Providence, the Multi-Faith Festival Committee has booked the multi-talented Either/Orchestra- famed eclectic jazz/orchestra 10 piece who are a world class outfit. They recently unearthed turn of the century Armenian music which was performed for the king of Ethiopia. Whatever they play on June 4, you won't want to miss it! They're lead by Russ Gershon who wrote me this introduction to the collective soul of the group:
I'm a spiritual person, but not overtly religious, though of Jewish heritage. I see the divine in other people, the things we do to and for one another. My deep love of music has put me in touch with mysteries that I had never imagined, with powers that can not originate in one person but which only flow through individuals from somewhere else.
Specific performances I've witnessed have put me in touch with powers that are bigger than any of us, yet which can only be focused by certain people in the world. In my work I aspire toward achieving that transcendental state, a state in which all of the history of the culture and humanity that I have been fortunate to be part of can come through me and reach other people.
The wonder of my explorations of a wide variety of range of musical cultures - within the US and Latin America and as far away as Ethiopia - lies in the way I have witnessed the universal humanity behind diverse, beautiful, particular musical languages. If one approaches these traditions with love and respect and an open heart, both the people who carry the traditions and the inner logic of the music reveal themselves, across all borders. In the music and life of Nerses Nalbandian (whom I was talking about on the radio) I found another person who seemed to act on similar beliefs. My sense of him has made it worth devoting so much time and energy to bringing his music back to life.
But my beliefs about music and the way that it connects people to each other and to the divine goes beyond the Nalbandian music. I wrote a CD length suite for the Either/Orchestra about this called "The Collected Unconscious," which will be coming out this summer. We have only played it in its entirety once in Boston, in 2012 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, as part of a short tour. A critic in NYC called it "one of the two or three best concerts of the season." It blends jazz, Latin music and Ethiopian music in an organic way that reveals our common humanity - or at least I hope!
-- Russ Gershon--