Live review: Everyone Orchestra @ Quixote’s True BlueBy Jason Blevins | May 24th, 2010 | 1 Comment »
Matt Butler scribbles on his dry-erase board and holds his hasty scrawl up to the musicians on stage.
Guitarist Steve Kimock — the Bay Area giant of jam — nods and trundles into an Indian-Arab disco, edgy-like-Kraftwerk-type sound.
Jennifer Hartswick raises her trumpet and a low moan overlaps Kimock’s tinkling.
Jamie Janover tickles his hammered dulcimer.
Jamie Masefield, the exploratory maestro behind the Jazz Mandolin Project, offers his high-pitched perspective on Butler’s sign, which reads “Techno-Raga.”
Welcome to the Everyone Orchestra, an amorphous, unscripted adventure founded by Matt Butler, whose frantic scribbling, leaping and waving earns him title of “conductor.”
The Everyone Orchestra’s three-show stand at a consistently improving Quixotes last Friday highlighted a stable of gifted musicians who, if they search long enough, can unearth fleeting moments of phonic brilliance. The search itself is part of the EO party.
The Everyone Orchestra rarely offers the same line-up and it’s designed as a free-form probe of any musical whim that strikes the stage. Audience participation is urged through Butler’s rhythmic prompts. No one on stage, even Butler, knows where and when, only how.
“We are just making it up as we go, just searching and following our bliss,” Butler explained to the dance-ready Quixotes crowd.
Sometimes, bliss leads to a dead end. Jams fall flat, as elusive fluidity evades Everyone’s grasp. But more often there are born-in-the-moment, cooperative peaks that delve into unexplored caverns. A “War” mash-up by String Cheese Incident’s Kyle Hollingsworth on Hammond B3 evolves into a punk-Latin jam that inspires Butler to scrawl “Follow Kimock.”
Kimock’s reflective jazzy stroll is taken over by Motet drummer Dave Watts and the tune becomes a rhythmic beast seemingly beyond Kimock’s control. Butler, the drummer for percussive string band Hot Buttered Rum, takes back the reins with a doodle that reads “8 Beat Rest.” The band stops on a dime. At the eight count, Masefield launches into a new symphonic realm that elevates his virtuosity and innovation on mandolin.
While Hollingsworth, Kimock and Hartswick are composers capable of scripting the most eloquent musical jaunts, Friday night’s show at Quixotes featured Masefield coming up as the power hitter. Again and again his stumbled-upon trinkets — were those Flamenco flourishes tied to techno thumping? Bring it! — resonated with sagacity.
After his moment under the bright light, it seemed the other musicians would feed off his inspiration. Hartswick stepped up with a Maple Leaf-worthy “When the Saints Go Marching In” riff that was as bountiful as the Dirty Dozen. Kimock, heir to Jerry’s mournful pacing, would wander into post-Masefield musings with gentle wailing guitar riffs that inspired even further exploration by Hollingsworth.
For jam-band aficionados who know the journey is the adventure and the destination is a fleeting flash of never-to-be-heard-again euphony, Butler and his ever-shifting troupe is a true treasure.
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Jason Blevins is a strange dancer, but that has never stopped him.
Anya Semenoff is a Denver-based photographer and an editorial assistant at the Denver Post.