Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica “Maksaz” tour stops at MIM Theater on Feb. 27

Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica “Maksaz” tour stops at MIM Theater on Feb. 27 (Submitted photo)

Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica, a global jazz and exotic chamber music ensemble, will bring its “Maksaz” tour 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 to Musical Instrument Museum Theater at 4725 East Mayo Blvd.

The Orchestrotica’s quintet formation concludes its three-state “Maksaz” tour, including Massachusetts and Kansas, in Arizona, according to a press release, adding that the program will feature the group performing unrecorded music and selections from two of their acclaimed Exotic for Modern Living series albums, Third River Rangoon and Where Here Meets There, plus the likes of Tchaikovsky and Tanburs, and more.

The quintet, led by percussionist Brian “Mr. Ho” O’Neill, routes listeners through a range of sounds from original compositions by Mr. O’Neill to unexpected adaptations of classical works ranging from Tchaikovsky’s ballets to Gershwin piano preludes and Georgian chants played on a vibraphone with six bows, the release said.

The Orchestrotica’s quintet formation has few musical boundaries, grouping Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Gershwin, John Adams, and Gregorian chants in an array of exotic chamber music sprinkled with flavors originating from Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans, and Latin America, the release detailed.

“I think for many people, there couldn’t be a better time for a personal escape with some unusual music,” Mr. O’Neill said in a prepared statement.

The group’s blending of jazz, world music, and classical chamber music combined with escapism is partially influenced by Mr. O’Neill’s career as a diverse freelance percussionist and his exposure to the mostly extinct genre from the 1950s known as exotica, the release said.

“We’re excited to kick off the Maksaz tour at our Cambridge, Massachusetts, home at the Regatta Bar, to return to my birth city of Phoenix to play at the beautiful Musical Instrument Museum Theater, and to make our debut appearance in Lawrence, Kansas at the Lied Center.” added Mr. O’Neill in the prepared statement. “People always ask me what style of music the Orchestrotica plays and how we define it. I tell them that we’re here to ‘find an escape’ within the precision of composed music, the improvisation in jazz, and the many timbres afforded by various familiar and ethnic instruments.”

The group is known for presenting accessible instrumental concerts while maintaining a fun and friendly connection between the audience and musicians. In addition to Mr. O’Neill, who fronts the ensemble on vibraphone and percussion, the quintet features the talents of Geni Skendo (bass flute, flute, shakuhachi), Tev Stevig (tanbur, resonator guitar), Brad Barrett (bass), and Jeremy Smith (percussion).

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