On May 12th, the Everyone Orchestra filled the Westcott Theater with the best improvisation that these eyes have seen in a long time. Conductor Matt Butler brought with him a super group of friends consisting of Rob Compa (Dopapod), A.C. Carter (TAUK), Hayley Jane (Hayley Jane and the Primates), Jeremy Schon (Pigeons Playing Ping Pong), Vinnie Amico (moe.), Zdenek Gubb (Twiddle), and Adam Gold (Sophistafunk). Tommy Weeks from Sophistafunk and Funky Dawgz Brass Band crashed the party with his sax and sat in for the whole show!
Opening the night was Sophistafunk who shared some new songs off of their latest album, Real Vibration, as well as some old classics. Getting the improv cooking, “Bruce Lee” had some serious interplay between Tommy Weeks and Adam Gold. They were the perfect bridge to get you into the mood for 2 sets of on the spot improv from the Everyone Orchestra that were controlled by Matt Butler’s hand gestures and white board suggestions. The first set began with a whiteboard suggestion of “Funk in D,” and the journey was on. It was mind blowing to watch Conductor Matt Butler cue up player by player and instigate some amazing musical exchanges. At one point, Tommy Weeks and Rob Compa had a deliberate exchange that melted the room. Near the end of the show, Adam Gold and Gub had an amazing trade off of bass licks.
One of the more mesmerizing details of the night was the vocals of Hayley Jane. Her stage presence is mesmerizing as it is, but to see her improvise with vocals is almost like witnessing magic or wizardry on some level. I mean, improv with an instrument consists of calling a key and then sticking to the seven notes that comprise it. As long as you stay within those parameters, it should meld. Yeah – try making up lyrics that flow and make sense, on the spot, right now, off the top of your head, in front of hundreds of staring eyes, and NOT sound totally stupid. I could never do it. Hayley proved magical. She would come out with perfect flowing words that would circle around to a common theme. Some of her common themes of the night were things like, “Keep on trying till you get it right,” and “Leave behind those things that you don’t need.” The first set ended with the crowd singing ”Summertime is coming…”
The whole concept of the Everyone Orchestra is mind blowing and really displays the skill of these professional musicians, not to mention how well Conductor Matt Butler controls the flow of the music. I can’t wait for the next inception of the Everyone Orchestra. Keep an eye out for them!
Author: George DiFabio
Photography: Jerrie DiFabio