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Matt Butler Brings the Everyone Orchestra Experiment to Manhattan

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Everyone Orchestra brought their high-energy, double-set improv session through the ornate Cutting Room in Manhattan last night. The revolving lineup of guests Matt Butler brings together looked like this last night:

Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee

Schmeeans of Lettuce

Ashish Vyas of Thievery Corp

Jen Hartswick of Trey Anastasio Band

Natalie Cressman of Trey Anastasio Band

Russ Lawton of Trey Anastasio Band

Cris Jacobs of The Bridge

w/ the incredible, sexy Jill Ryan joining in on Saxophone for the second set.

Everyone Orchestra’s selling point is the jam. The group doesn’t have songs, and continuously revolving lineups usually leave you watching a unique lineup whenever you go see them. Last night, Ashish Vyas was the odd man out, on paper anyways. But his incredible energy and enthusiastic vibe brought a lot to the table as he romed around stage, giving high-fives in between songs and visibly telling Jen & Natalie “That was awesome!!!” during their “He pays for his thrills with $5 bills” vocals late in the first set. Googling those words resulted in nothing, which makes me a bad googler or the girls a great duo.

Second set saw conductor Matt Butler going around the room to allow each member to start a song. Joel got techno, Shmeeans got funky and Jen Hartswick got bluesy and jazzy at the same damn time. A high moment of the night was during the Hartswick-started track when the amazingly cute Jill Ryan, having just joined the band, crushed it with a saxophone solo during a very bluesy, Grateful Dead-esque jam.

And so the night went. One solo after another, each moment as spontaneous as the last. Everyone Orchestra completely embodies the spirit of those Grateful Dead Acid Tests you read about, where each player picks up their gear and allows the music to take control.


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