One does not easily describe the New Jungle Orchestra–on paper, it sounds like an idea too goofy to actually work–but a place to start would be the sweet, almost tangy sound that Pierre Dorge sometimes extracts from his guitar. Played percussively, it’s close in temperament to the sound of the kora, the gourd harp used in the Mandingo region of west Africa; and everything proceeds from there. Dorge is a Danish guitarist, with a hereditary Scandinavian sense of melancholy, who’s influenced equally by Arabic and Balkan musics, the compositional ethos of Frank Zappa, and the essential spirit of Thelonious Monk. He has named his band, which ranges from 8 to 13 members, after the original Jungle Orchestra that Duke Ellington established at Harlem’s Cotton Club in the 1920s. But unlike Ellington, Dorge visited the source first: he has studied in the Gambia, forging his disparate influences into an unexpected (and unexpectedly successful) fusion of Euro-American and African heritage. Tonight, 8 and 10 PM, Southend Musicworks, 1313 S. Wabash; 939-2848.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Peter Lind.