For the last ten years, The Everyone Orchestra and its ever-rotating cast of characters has pushed the envelope of improvised music across the world. Musicians from many of the greatest bands of our time have entered Matt Butler's world of conducted improvisation and the results are always entertaining. Jon Fishman of Phish has been part of the EO experience many times, and was enlisted by Matt for the first-ever EO studio project, The Brooklyn Sessions.
Matt assembled a masterful collection of musicians in a Brooklyn recording studio in January 2011 for two days of conducted improvised jams. In addition to Fishman, the stellar group includes many players associated with Phish side-projects. Along with Matt as Conductor, the lineup is: Jon Fishman (Phish), Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band), Al Schnier (moe.), Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) Steve Kimock, Marco Benevento, Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Jamie Masefield (Jazz Mandolin Project) and Jans Ingber (The Motet).
I asked Matt how the studio experience differed from being in front of a live audience. "While we didn't have the audience energy to feed off of, the environment was relaxed and intimate which brought out really interesting performances from all the players. I let solos run even longer than usual and let jams go on a little longer too. I focused on letting these master musicians interact and have a really fun time while we created the music. I also pushed the envelope musically and we tried pulling off some really difficult concepts. Some worked better than others, but as a group process, since we weren't 'performing' it was all valid efforts in our time in the 'creative sandbox'."
The completely self-funded project is near completion, but needs additional financial support to reach the finished product. Here is Matt's introductory video for the Kickstarter project, which includes some nice jam segments:
If you donate to the project, you get at minimum a free digital download of the CD when it is released. Higher donation amounts come with even more goodies. For more information, additional behind-the-scenes video and to donate to the project, click here.