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The Entourage Music And Theatre Ensemble (1973)

The Entourage Music and Theater Ensemble was an ambient music group. The group was active from 1970 to 1983 and performed in theaters in combination with dance ensembles.

The primary members were founder and director Joe Clark on saxophones and keyboards; Rusti Clark (no relation) on viola and guitar; Michael S. Smith on drums and percussion; and Wall Matthews on guitars, keyboards, and percussion.

Entourage formed in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 70's, relocated to Millbrook, New York, then moved to New London, Connecticut in the mid-seventies and finally re-settled in the Baltimore, Maryland area. The group disbanded after the death of Joe Clark in 1983.

In the mid-seventies, Moe Asch of Folkways Records produced two recordings: Entourage (1973) and The Neptune Collection (1975). Both recordings were made available on custom CD and digital download in 2007 by Smithsonian Folkways.

In 1976, noted choreographer Murray Louis commissioned the group to create a two-hour original score based on the ballet Cleopatra for the Royal Danish Ballet.

The ensemble was commissioned by Nebraska Public Television to create a half-hour national television special, Ceremony of Dreams in 1978.

In 2003, a composition from The Neptune Collection, "Neptune Rising", was sampled and used as the basis for the single She Moves She by the electronic music artist Four Tet.

The ensemble received mostly positive reviews. In 1974, a brief write up of the group's first recording in Stereo Magazine praised Entrourage as one of the unique groups since The Paul Winter Consort... a beautiful album...

In his review of The Neptune Collection, Russell Shaw of Crawdaddy! magazine wrote, When Michael Smith of Entourage accentuates the eerie "Druid Dance" with a series of fists, knuckles, and finger pops, he becomes the device the pacing is voiced through. All this is part and parcel of the framework in which Entourage operates; an often sinister, but more often frighteningly intricate series of compositions adaptable for dance purposes. On their own, without visual aid, the recordings are awesomely imagistic; a maelstrom of impressions... (wikipedia)

Communication is the outer world's intersection with the inner world. It is a process in time through which hue , color, texture, and finally , shape (or form) are formulated. At some critical point, this dynamic procession of events produces conception-stored-in-memory, realization, dynamicism, experience.

One's surroundings and self-awareness are, in reality, an entity of relationship containing within itself a potential for communication. The enactment of this relationship by a group of such individual elements is performance . The manner or texture of this communcation is entirely the result of the hues and colors of its elements .

Our entourage (or theatre) and our collective self-awareness is the relationship within which performance is realized — its form (or ritual) is entirely contingent upon a common purpose. Then, the purpose is performance , spontaneous performance, adaptiveness, a most expedient realization.

Joh was born May 21, 1935 in Baltimore, Maryland. E-flat soprano saxophone, electric keyboard, acoustic piano, percussion.

Michael was born January 30, 1946 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Drums, assorted percussion, thumb piano.

Rusti was born September 24, 1947 in Jacksonville, Florida. Viola, recorder, guitar, percussion.

In performance, our group is a multi-media ensemble. Our musical performers and theatrical complement provide a synthesis of ideas and inspirations derived from many sources.

We perform with as few as four people, or as many as fifteen. We also have a apprenticeship system (which is no more a system than friendship) — allowing people not directly involved in our group to rehearse and perform with us . This broadens the scope of our work.

We are portable and self-contained, with a format designed to give a great deal of flexibility to when and where we perform.

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