Review & Photos | The Everyone Orchestra | New York

Images By: Suzy Perler
Words By: Chadbyrne Dickens

The Everyone Orchestra :: 11.8.13 :: B.B. King's Blues Club :: New York, NY

Check out Chadbyrne's full review after Suzy's gallery!

This is not your Grandfather's Orchestra. With an assemblage of a colorful cast of talented musicians in tow, improvisational conductor Matt Butler led a troupe called the Everyone Orchestra that delivered a powerful performance over two sets that satiated the unexpected palette of legions of jam band aficionados as part of a near sold-out performance at New York City's BB King's venue in bustling Times Square this past Friday night.

With almost no rehearsal and no predetermined set list, the Everyone Orchestra is distinctly different than your neighborhood symphony or Philharmonic, it is an intensely satisfying, original and unforgettable experience for jam fans. EO not only takes participants from the ranks of the greatest bands in the land but often the leaders of those groups themselves. It is best emblematic of the cult classic, "Memphis Soul Stew" by King Curtis where a musical stew is concocted by including different instrumental ingredients.

Butler, who hails from Oregon, has inducted a veritable who's who of jam gods into the EO ranks over the years including luminaries such as Jon Fishman, Jason Hann of SCI, Bridget Law of Elephant Revival, Steve Kimock, Jans Ingber of the Motet, Ryan Montbleau, Reed Mathis of Tea Leaf Green, Zach Gill and Lebo from ALO, Todd Stoops of Kung Fu and jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan. The utilitarian approach amongst participants fosters cohesion between them and encourages exploration and expansion of minds and sounds. Each has the freedom to explore a sound perhaps different in nuance and structure than what one is known for playing in their home bands. Each performer expresses a different experience with Everyone Orchestra. Members often bond through the unusual foray into musical improvisation and Butler is known to bring all together for a pre-show meal.

Butler is like a chef with ingredients and an unknown final product. The jam often starts with one person, as it did once with Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth on this night, and his "Jam A" will be met by other performers around him, adding fills with a "Jam B" and the result is a meshing of monumental magnitude. Matt subtlety pushes participants into a different comfort zone than is customary to enhance creativity and keep the proceedings fresh. Butler states, "It's all about intuition...there's a balance between needing them to feel free to do something and surprise being ready to carve dynamics and call a different solo..." Some lineups have musicians coming back for more - because they are really into the concept.

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