Either/Orchestra "The Collected Unconscious"


8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Event Type


Either/Orchestra image

Co-sponsored by the Arts Department at Rensselaer, part of iEAR presents!

Join us in welcoming the Either/Orchestra back to Troy. They were one of the first bands to play at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, a sold-out show that was one of our all-time highlights! 

Buy tickets for Either/Orchestra

This concert is part of a four date mini-tour to premiere The Collected Unconscious, a new suite composed by band founder Gershon and based in the pentatonic modes of and triple rhythms of Ethiopian music.  The language of the suite goes far beyond those parameters, recalling Ellington, Mingus, Tito Puente and others in its broad scope.  Based on a sneak preview in Cambridge MA, audiences will find it moving and nostalgic as well as hot, exciting and challenging.  

The program will also include musical highlights from the E/O’s May 2011 tour of Ethiopia.  The tour was sponsored by the US, French and Spanish governments and revived music written by Nerses Nalbandian, an Armenian expatriate who shaped modern Ethiopian music from his position as music director of the Haile Selassie National Theater during the 1950s and 60s. 

The E/O has a 14 year relationship with the music of Ethiopia, and have become the jazz world’s leading non-Ethiopian players of this music.  May 2011 was their second visit to that country; the first, in 2004, yielded the Ethiopiques 20: Live in Addis CD, which received rave reviews:

  “Astonishing…monumental…the best live album of the year—in any genre” –Paul Olson, AllAboutJazz.com; “a total triumph” –Budd Kopman, AllAboutJazz.com; “Incredible” –Tim Perlich, Now Magazine, Toronto; “[A] completely remarkable recording.” –Norman Weinstein, AllAboutJazz.com; “Sends the senses into the very heart and soul of communal human love…A force that dares to break barriers.” –Lofton A. Emenari III, WHPK, Chicago 

The Sanctuary is able to present this large group for such a modest admission price with the help of support from Chamber Music America.  In 2010, Gershon received this New York-based organization’s prestigious Jazz New Works grant, which has afforded him time to write a major piece and funding to pay the musicians for performances.  

Founded in 1985 by Gershon, the ten-piece Either/Orchestra (E/O) is New England’s premier jazz ensemble, Grammy nominees and perennial poll-winners.  Their live show is a dazzling blend of latin rhythms, precision big-band ensemble work and exotic Ethiopian sounds.  A colorful six-piece horn section is matched by a rhythm section of piano, bass, drums and congas, including musicians from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Brazil.  Their performances are fun and broadly appealing, sophisticated and uplifting. 

Critics and audiences worldwide have savored the E/O’s music through over 1000 performances, 11 CDs and a DVD.  “Dependably marvelous” –writes Richard Gehr in the Village Voice; “the best little big band ever” –according to the editor of Down Beat, Frank Alkyer; “serious chops and courageous experimentation with a strong sense of entertainment and subtle humor” is how Jeff Tamarkin described the EO in JazzTimes earlier this year.

The E/O has played at Lincoln Center, the Glastonbury (UK) Pop Festival, the Chicago, Monterey, Toronto, North Sea, Vancouver and many other major jazz festivals, theaters in Milan, Stockholm, Helsinki, Paris, Rome, Germany, Portugal, Uganda, Russia and clubs everywhere.  They are known for crossing over to non-jazz audiences with their fiery and exciting show.  Hard-core jazz fans appreciate the great playing and arrangements, general audiences connect instantly with the personalities, deep grooves and memorable melodies.

Over the past year, in celebration of its 25th anniversary, the E/O convened spectacular alumni reunion concerts in Boston and NYC which featured 28 musicians including such luminaries as Miguel Zenon, John Medeski, Josh Roseman and Matt Wilson. 

The Either/Orchestra:

Tom Halter – trumpet
Dan Rosenthal – trumpet
Joel Yennior – trombone
Hailey Niswanger – alto saxophone, flute
Russ Gershon – tenor, soprano saxophone
Charlie Kohlhase – baritone saxophone
Gilson Schachnik – piano, organ
Rick McLaughlin – bass
Pablo Bencid – drums
Vicente Lebron – congas, percussion