Everyone Orchestra Releasing Brooklyn Sessions

One part fiery conductor, one part sonic ringleader, he wields a whiteboard, flying fingers, and a knowing, joyful grin. His gestures, expressions, hints, and jotted words get music flowing like electricity through a live wire, uniting musical strangers with an uncanny sense for spontaneous songcraft.

He’s Matt Butler, the force behind Everyone Orchestra, an evolving project that embraces the spontaneity and openness of an all-out improv jam, and the musical athleticism and sensitivity of high-powered conducting. 

Directing a shifting cast of musicians in real time, on the spot, Butler has mastered the art of encouraging skilled musicians to dig deeper, listen closer, and compose stunning songs on the fly. He may wiggle his fingers, point, count instruments in or out, or dash off  words on a small board designed to spark ideas.

Now, for the first time, Butler has taken in-the-moment composition from jubilant live shows to the studio on Brooklyn Sessions (Harmonized Records; May 15, 2012). Butler invited past collaborators—musical friends like drummer Jon Fishman (Phish), keyboardist/pianist Marco Benevento, Al Schnier (moe.), Jen Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Dave Mathews Band), guitarist Steve Kimock, and bassist Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) , among others—to join him for several days of exploration and co-creation. The results range from hard-hitting grooves that take unexpected twists and turns (“Boots”), to sweet and expansive (“Pensive”), all guided by a spirit that is both liberated and focused.

“It’s a sacred sandbox,” Butler smiles. “The stage, or in this case the studio, is a sacred place to share the music. You’re fully improvising, and the only preparation you can do is to be in the moment, the way an athlete is during a game. Not to withdraw into yourself, but to be engaged, to dodge and throw the ball.”

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