New sounds from close to home
MR. HO’S ORCHESTROTICA QUARTET
THIRD RIVER RANGOON
Hot (or cool) on the heels of last winter’s big band treatment of “The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel,’’ local exotica expert and composer/vibraphonist/percussionist Brian O’Neill (a.k.a. Mr. Ho) clears the Tiki lounge of all but his quartet for an after-hours nightcap that promises to carry on well into summer.
Working with Albanian flute virtuoso Geni Skendo, Japanese percussionist Noriko Terada, bassist Jason Davis, plus guest oud master Tev Stevig, O’Neill has again conjured a perfect cocktail of mid-century “space age bachelor pad’’ music deliciously accented with chamber, jazz, classical, and world music notes. The result is a heady yet soul-soothing concoction of contrasts — Tchaikovsky’s “Arab Dance’’ mingles with Cal Tjader’s “Colorado Waltz’’ and Milt Raskin’s “Maika,’’ for instance — that transcends novelty or kitsch. Informed by Mr. Ho’s panoramic tastes, pulsing vibraphone (the closing track, “Lyman ’59,’’ is O’Neill’s South Pacific-style tribute to vibes icon Arthur Lyman), and impeccable playing all around, this combo is deadly serious about its fun.
Obviously, a ton of talent, skill, and precision goes into distilling such a chilled disposition, all of which producer Brother Cleve captures with the same effortless elan and attention to detail he employs to create his signature libations in clubs around town. (Out Tuesday)
Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quartet hosts a CD-release show at the Lizard Lounge June 3 with the Rusty Scott Organ Group, 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 (door), $12 (advance). 617-547-0759, www.lizardloungeclub.com