Orchestral Maneuvers

The Either/Orchestra has realized that evolution is the

best route to longevity. After 14 years — and four

years since its last record — Boston's most eclectic

big band has been reborn thanks to an influx of fresh

talent and a veteran core that includes saxophonist-

leader Russ Gershon, baritone saxman Charlie Kohlhase

and trumpeter Tom Halter. The group has rarely sounded

as sophisticated but still broadly accessible.

The Latin American-bred rhythm base of drummer Harvey

Wirth and percussionist Vicente Lebron ensure a more

obvious accent on Afro-Latin music, especially in a broken

suite of Ethiopian pop tunes from the '70s. Led by the

10-minute "Amiak Abet Abet" (

HREF="http://media.addict.com/music/Either-

Orchestra/Amiak_Abet_Abet.ram">RealAudio

excerpt), whose undulating rhythms and mute

horns conjure visions of an elephant caravan, the suite's

layered textures and time signatures complement

Gershon's originals in a subtly exotic way.

Among the other newcomers, Jaleel Shaw lives up to the

10-piece band's strong succession of alto saxophonists,

with rippling solos in "Amiak Abet Abet" and "Breaktime

for Dougo" (

HREF="http://media.addict.com/music/Either-

Orchestra/Breaktime_For_Dougo.ram">RealAudio

excerpt), a jaunty oldie with a mariachilike

groove. Halter serves up a robust, Miles-teasing break in

"All Those SOBs," while Gershon's soprano snakes from

gentle tones to oscillating flurries in the Ethiopian finale

"Feker Aydelmwey" (

HREF="http://media.addict.com/music/Either-Orchestra/Feker_Aydelmwey.ram">RealAudio

excerpt), which drops into ensemble hand-

claps.