Jazz orchestras are normally thought of as vehicles for standards, or dinner jazz. But, as WRTI’s Maureen Malloy reports, Philadelphia’s Fresh Cut Orchestra is anything but standard.
Maureen Malloy: It’s not your grandfather’s orchestra. The Fresh Cut Orchestra started as a grant project for The Painted Bride, who chose three leaders to start a 10-piece band from scratch, and to write all of the music. Drummer Anwar Marshall, trumpeter Josh Lawrence, and bassist Jason Fraticelli got it done, and then the band kept on going.
Their first album included electronics, making Fresh Cut stand out in the world of jazz orchestras. Their new release, Mind Behind Closed Eyes, takes another step away from the traditional, by adding the Latin American folk instrument, the cuatro. It’s the national instrument of Puerto Rico, originally with four strings (hence the name), but the current cuatro has more. Adding this is personal for bassist Fraticelli.
Jason Fraticelli: It’s the first time I’m introducing the cuatro into the Fresh Cut Orchestra.
MM: He started playing it when he was 12. How did this happen?
JF: Okay, so a cuatro is an instrument that was handed down to me from my grandfather. It’s a ten-string (five strings doubled) Puerto Rican instrument; it’s like a guitar. My grandfather played it traditionally. Maybe this is your grandfather’s orchestra, after all! The Fresh Cut Orchestra celebrates the release of Mind Behind Closed Eyes at the Painted Bride Art Center on August 27th at 8 pm.