Fresh Cut Orchestra, “Gray, Freddie” (2016): Something Else! Video Premiere

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A last name and first name that in any order has become synonymous with police brutality, “Gray, Freddie” is a straight-at-ya number from the troika who leads Philly-based progressive large band Fresh Cut Orchestra. But when drummer Anwar Marshall, bassist Jason Fraticelli and trumpeter Josh Lawrence chose to lend their support to the Black Lives Matter movement in song, they did so apart from the larger band and apart from the FCO’s upcoming Mind Behind Closed Eyes release and in doing so, gave a single issue its own hot spotlight.

Moreover, as we hear in the video debuting above, a no-nonsense, unvarnished approach to the music accompanies the message rendered by the core, acoustic FCO. Fraticelli’s strumming part of his bass figure vaguely calls to mind the one Jimmy Garrison and Reggie Workman forged together for John Coltrane’s “India” but the similarities go away when he walks in a funky strut for the concluding part of the repeating theme. Lawrence, who wrote this song, plays with a lot of awareness, taking what his rhythm section gives him with a veteran’s demeanor.

Marshall’s snappy snare rattling commands a lot of attention, evoking a very rare valid comparison to the singular Steve Gadd. A muted middle section paced by Lawrence’s briefly muted trumpet inserts a reflective break into the bouncy ride.

Check out Fresh Cut Orchestra’s website for more of what’s going on with this collection of some of Philadelphia’s best jazz musicians on the rise.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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