Sunday, August 19, 2012


I have never agreed with the old saw that "you can't judge a book by it's cover".  A book is a whole thing, consisting of cover, title, introduction, content, etc.  A really good cover can color your appreciation of a book in a decisive way.  The same is true of a record album.  I could no more imagine my experience of Led Zeppelin's third album apart from the LP cover with the spinning wheel than I can imagine my brother without his smile.  Much the same is true of a lot of Blue Note Jazz recordings. 

On that same score I am very sensitive to titles of jazz albums and songs and, occasionally, band titles.  I could not help but be attracted to an outfit that calls itself The Either/Orchestra.  The delicious ambiguity of that name immediately makes me wonder what I am choosing between and which it is.  Even better are the album titles of the two recordings that I have purchased.  

The Calculus of Pleasure is an extraordinary album.   I don't play a lot of big band music, but there are exceptions.  Big band music draws me in when it is done concerto style, like baseball.  One player faces off against the rest of the field.  I also like the low horns.  I am playing 'Bennie Moten's Weird Nightmare' and 'Ecaroh'.  Here is the lineup:
The title of the second, The Half-Life Of Desire, is even better.  What images that conjures up!   "A modest sized big band full of outsized talents" is how the Penguin Guide puts it.  I can't argue.  This is jazz with real power behind it.  I am playing 'Premonitions' and 'He Who Hesitates'. 
Enjoy.  If you do read this post and/or hear one of these tunes, please pay in the only coin I value here.  Leave a comment.  

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