"anything but straightforward"
"2012 Best World Music Act"
"Best CDs of 2013"
"…a timeless magnum opus..."
—WORLD MUSIC REPORT
"…no band on the planet sounds remotely like Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica…"
—THE CA MODERNIST / EICHLER NETWORK
—INSIDE WORLD MUSIC
"…certainly a must for exotica fans…."
—WORLD MUSIC CENTRAL
"I have a massive record collection and I can't recall a single [vinyl] album sounding this good. Fantastic!"
—KEVIN B, OWNER, STINGRAY RECORDS
Where Here Meets There is not an exercise in nostalgia for Mr. Ho (Brian O'Neill), who isn’t pining for a bygone musical paradise. You may hear overtones of Les Baxter and Brian Wilson, but they’re ports of call, not destinations. There's innovation, as the Orchestrotica reinvents Gershwin and De Falla while channeling mid-century Exotica. Adherence to any musical stylebook is confining, and Mr. Ho & cohorts prefer redefining. Mr. Ho calls it "global jazz and exotic chamber music," which seems equally suitable for a fine-art gallery, concert stage, or tiki bar. The quartet has concocted a savory soul sauce whose ingredients include Stravinsky, Dizzy Gillespie, and Martin Denny. For seasoning there's Bach and backwards Balkan dance beats. Would you like bongos with that fugue? The inclusion of unusual instruments such as pandeiro, oud, bass cajon, and udu provide surprising colors and reinforce the genre-bending. It's a strange musical landscape for which Mr. Ho provides the GPS. Sit back and let him do the navigating—passport not required.
–Irwin Chusid, WFMU Radio
"A technicolor dreamscape of faraway places–welcome to the new age of Exotica."
FROM ARTISTIC DIRECTOR:
Somewhere in the middle, Here meets There. The Orchestrotica is always searching for that place: the one where Macedonians dance backward while Bach takes another chorus over his latest fugue. Now look over There: where two mischievous Disney cats dash across Gershwin’s piano, their paws igniting a blaze of free improvisation. To cool off, dive into the flip side of the record and you’ll find yourself right back Here, just a few miles from Chalco. And that’s where we’ll be, drumming up the next “maracatune” just for you.
–Mr. Ho (Brian O'Neill)
ABOUT THE BAND:
Referencing the exotica of composers ranging from Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich to George Gershwin, Martin Denny, and John Adams, Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica—as a vibraphone quartet—performs global jazz and exotic chamber music with world-music flavors sourced from Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans, and Latin America. Led by multi-percussionist, vibraphonist and composer Brian O’Neill, the group also features bass flute/woodwinds (Geni Skendo), percussion (Shane Shanahan), and acoustic bass (Jason Davis). The quartet focuses on original music written by O'Neill ("a first-rate composer"—Huffington Post) that is highly influenced by his fifteen-year career as a multi-percussionist in symphony orchestras, jazz groups, and world music ensembles leading AllAboutJazz to say, "…if John Zorn is an exotica Picasso, O'Neill is his Georges-Braque counterpart in cubism's transposition to music." The Orchestrotica was named the 2012 "Best World Music Act" in the Boston Phoenix's annual readers' poll.
In June 2011, they released their debut quartet CD, Third River Rangoon, which the Boston Herald called "…serious jazz and chamber-music writing…" and Lucid Culture called "…a lushly nocturnal collection…genius." The album continues their Exotica for Modern Living series, which opened with The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel , their 23-pc big band formation performing the lost space-age pop music of Esquivel. That album eventually reached #4 on the CMJ jazz charts and received 4 stars from the Sunday London Times.