THE NAKED ORCHESTRA
A creative music orchestra comprised of 12- 24 members under the direction of Jonathan Freilich. This is an ongoing project started in 1996. What follows are the liner notes for the most recent album, From Eidolons to a view of Pandemonium followed by those from the first recording, Brief repairs on the gradually unravelling spool in the sense continuum.
...Eidolons liner notes
Keeping a large ensemble together is no easy task. Despite disasters, deaths, cultural shifts, new membership, and other adversities the group has managed to maintain great adherence to the basic ideals set out in 1997 when the group was formed. There are many people that have committed great time and energy to seeing the band live. The social forces in New Orleans music make something like this much harder to maintain than in 1998, primarily because the necessities of post-Katrina New Orleans make it harder for musicians and venues to commit the time to keep the coherence in such a project. Nonetheless, we recorded another album just days before Hurricane Katrina. We hope to see that come out at some point soon. Additionally, we continue to perform whenever an opportunity presents itself.
There were great moments such as when the great Sam Rivers came to play with the band. There is sadness at the loss of other members such as Frederick Sheppard and Richard Theodore. There have been quite supportive audiences and a small but dedicated inner circle of people that contribute through other means.
Here is a (hopefully fairly complete) list of musicians that have played with the group:
Eric lucero- (tpt)
Bob Garret- (tpt)
Omar Ramirez- (tpt)
Jamelle Williams- (tpt)
Jeff Albert- (tb)
Rick Trolsen- (tb)
John Gross- (Tuba)
Hart McNee- (Fl., B Fl.)
Janna Saslaw- (Fl.)
Carl LeBlanc- (Fl., Gtr.)
Frederick Sheppard- (Fl., ten. sax, alto sax)
Christopher Kohl- (Cl., B. Cl.)
Rob Wagner-(cl., sop. sax., ten. sax, b.cl.)
Steve Ankrum- (sop. sax)
Ray Moore-(alto sax, tenor sax, fl.)
Martin Krusche-(alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax. bavarian poetry recital)
Tim Green- (tenor sax, bass sax)
Joe Cabral-(tenor sax, bari sax)
Jason Mengeldorff-(ten. sax, bari. sax)
Tony Dagradi- (ten.sax)
Brent Rose- (sop. sax, ten. sax)
Ian Mcphail-(ten. sax.)
Richard Theodore-(Alto sax, b. Cl.)
Doug Miller-(fl.,ten sax,bari sax)
Mikael Williams-saxes and exotic instruments
Victor Atkins- Piano
Brian Coogan- piano
Adam Klipple- piano
Anthony Cuccia- percussion
Michael Skinkus- percussion
Dave Capello- drums
David Sobel- drums
Stanton Moore- drums
Kevin O’Day- drums
Doug Garrison- drums
Mark Diflorio- drums
Johnny Vidacovich- drums
Jonathan Freilich- gtr. director
Alex McMurray- gtr.
Todd Duke- gtr.
Ed Barrett- gtr.
Matt Rhody- (violin, tpt)
Helen Gillet- (cello)
James Singleton- bass
Brady Kish- bass
Andrew Wolf- bass
Nobu Ozaki- bass
Peter Harris- bass
Jesse Boyd- bass
Jimbo Walsh- bass, Conducting
Glenn Hartman- conducting
There are many others to thank on the production, journalism, artwork, and general love end too!
Several years ago, upon recording our first album (Brief Repairs on the gradually unravelling spool in the sense continuum, I wrote the following about the Naked Orchestra:
Around 1997, with the help and support of Ron Black and the Mermaid Lounge, I was trying to make a recording of the music that I had been writing and performing with my small ensemble, Naked on the Floor. The lineup was usually Arthur Kastler (Bass) and Stanton Moore on drums. However, due to the gig scheduling pressures that are involved in local New Orleans musical life, I had the pleasure of playing the music with many others. I was trying to capture the flavour of how the music had been developing by playing different tunes with slightly different configurations. I was trying to match the flavour of the tunes to the energy of the personalities. For the final piece of the session I wanted to record one of the first pieces I had written, The Little One (it hasn't made this recording but if the opportunity arises for a future recording it will be there). I heard the piece with more colours and since it came from a past time it was filled with the memories of having played it with so many people, there was a warmth in that and I wanted to play it with all of the sounds that I had heard from the people who played it with me.
How to do this? How to do this?
Many of them were teachers and mentors. All the people I wanted to use I had a lot of respect for and was afraid to waste their time. I had no money. I offered food and music that I hoped would interest the musicians. Perhaps, put them in a slightly different headspace. Best I could do. Somehow, everyone showed. That was the first Naked Orchestra event.
Now it seems that the project is something hard to maintain but precious while it can exist. We are an independent ensemble operating outside of an academic situation or other funded system. That gives us a different sort of unconstrained freedom in our expression. It does, however, pose some organizational and fiscal problems. But the opportunity it affords us to write for a large ensemble in a free manner far outweighs any of that. It is also a grand opportunity for listeners since I don't think anything quite like it is going on in New Orleans currently.
It gives us a forum for the players involved to write music and have it performed. I'm sure more of that will be on its way. When it started, I wrote all the pieces but a few were arranged by Jimbo, Doug Miller or Rober Wagner. Now we've done pieces by Doug and Jimbo also.
Three years down the line we were able to get a gig. That was a couple of years ago. Brief Repairs is what has developed since then. Many players not on the record put in a tremendous amont by being involved and putting up with the craziness. I hope we all play together again. Thank you!