Everyone Orchestra | Brooklyn Sessions
album review by John Powell
Who ever thought Everyone Orchestra could make a studio album? By very nature, Matt Butler travels festivals in search of willing participants in his bizarre experiments- taking all manner of powerful artists, everyone from members of Rubblebucket to Grateful Dead, and putting them on one stage, holding up signs with words like “Breathe” on them. The musicians interpret them and jam out.
So how in the hell did Matt pull off a studio album?
Firstly, he got together Jon Fishman, Marco Benevento, Jamie Masefield, Jans Ingber, Jeff Coffin, Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis, Al Schnier, and Jen Hartswick. He gave them two days in a Brooklyn studio, and helped everyone cut loose.
Brooklyn Sessions is very experimental. It’s not for those that love tight pop songs. It’s got some key jazz musicians in the group, so it’s got that feel to it, and there are crazy solos and the like. It’s funky, soulful, and at times chaotic, but never ever too atmospheric for the palate, (my original concern).
“Boots”, for instance, does not sound improvised. Complete with lyrics, sick solos, and everything in between, it sounds like a traditional soul tune- I think it’s the horns that brings this about.
“Explore Space” was definitely what Matt had written on his white board for the band. Cutesy mandolin paces the band, and everyone holds back in classic jam fashion. This is very much a modern hodgepodge of jam musicians; it just has that feel to it. Marco Benevento scores, ripping on keys for the latter half.
The real homerun is “Take Off Your Clothes”, which has Jen Hartsick improvising sexy lyrics while Reed Mathis steals the show on bass. The funk jam rides on a super sexy groove that never falters in seven minutes.
Fishman kills it, man. Yes, the group is all exceptional musicians, but none of this album would be possible without Jon’s contribution. He taps into the heart of funk and groove. As the wiseman of jams in the group, he’s somewhat of the sage that brings about the magic that happened in those two days.
Possibly a stellar party album, Brooklyn Sessions is easy on the ears, heavy on the groove, and if nothing else a successful experiment. How awesome to have Al Schnier kicking it with Jamie Masefield, and who doesn’t love Reed Mathis?
Basically, if you love jam music, this is your composite sketch if all of them had a baby, delivered with ease by Dr. Matt Butler, M.D. (Music Diviner)
Bottom line: What a great idea, and done so well. Jams in a Brooklyn studio with heavy hitters.