by Andi Bricklin
Much anticipation surrounded Fresh Cut Orchestra’s debut release, From the Vine and the evening was full of excitement. You could tell it was going to be a night of great music just by the way everyone was dressed; suits and cool hats all around!
Philly is a very tight knit musical community and you’ll often see familiar faces performing on stage. This night was no different. As the opening act was introduced, I immediately recognized guitarist Anthony DiCarlo. DiCarlo has most recently been seen performing with Matt McAndrew, season 8 runner up on The Voice. DiCarlo and his jazz trio of guitar, bass and drums kicked the night off properly with a great set that was totally cool and worthy of some slick jazz snaps.
The Fresh Cut Orchestra took the stage with the comfort and ease of the seasoned professionals that they are, and they started their set where the album ends: with “Sanguine”, into “Uptown Romance”. These particular songs really showcase band leader Josh Lawrence’s mad talent as a trumpet player, with an emphasis on the horns overall and it was spectacular to hear live.
The band then moved back to the beginning and into the pieces that make up the majority of the album, “The Mothers’ Suite”. The brainchild of bassist Jason Fraticelli, the Mothers Suite is an engaging 6 piece movement that themes the album. To say that experiencing this Suite live was a gift would be an understatement. It was so great that I had to move closer to feel the notes coming from the instruments so I could physically feel it to a greater extent.
I’ve not been to a jazz show before so watching the Fresh Cut Orchestra’s dynamics on stage was quite refreshing. Every time a musician had an opportunity to solo, the other band members would respectfully hold their own instruments in order to let that musician show off their talents and admire them from afar, if you will.
The Suite was over way too soon although the band had been playing for well over an hour, and I was happy when they announced that they would be back to play another set.
When the show was over I was left with the feeling that everyone needs to experience this band live, and my feelings are that if any one can change the perception of jazz in the Philly music scene or even the jazz scene in general it would be the Fresh Cut Orchestra; they could just be the bridge that brings jazz mainstream.