Off the recording scene for five years, a reconfigured version of the Either/Orchestra returns under founder Russ Gershon's guidance to play their original music. After working with Ethiopian legend Mulatu Astatqe, Gershon and the band are playing a funkier music, perhaps inspired by the likes of Duke Ellington and James Brown. Any Middle Eastern residue is gone, but a Latin tinge is very much present, while plenty of solo space from the ensemble members keeps the proceedings lively and interesting. Always one of the more innovative little big bands, the E/O restlessly try new things with their original music, such as the modal "History Lesson" or the spooky "Thirty Five." But in the main, they're a take-no-prisoners kind of group, juking or jiving with an indomitable spirit as drummer Vicente LeBron locks it down with Caribbean rhythms while the horns dance around him. Founding member Charlie Kohlhase has returned to the ensemble, injecting the meaty, baritone sax lines that defined the adventurous nature of the group's early sound. Veteran Bostonian Henry Cook is added on flute for two tracks to make the revamped woodwind section even more potent. Celebrating their 25th year as a band, the Either/Orchestra provides us with another in a string of triumphant recordings.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos