A large ensemble melding jazz, rock, klezmer, cartoon and the avant-garde into a compelling and cohesive whole, led by Sam Eastmond the Spike Orchestra is dedicated to creating new music and exploring the conceptual limits of the big band, taking what is possible and stretching it to breaking point.
Originating in 2012 as a series of workshop sessions by composers Eastmond and Nikki Franklin and inspired by John Zorn's conceptual approach to the rock band with his Naked City project, Carl Stalling, JG Thirlwell and the New York Downtown scene as well as the more obvious big band works of Ellington, Gil Evans and Carla Bley the band has evolved into a formidable studio project.
Early experiments and live shows led to a move away from standalone pieces and a pursuit of longer more cohesive works explored in live and early recording experiments. The ensemble has a fluid list of collaborative musicians, the one constant being composer/arranger Eastmond with producer Ben Greenslade-Stanton.
2014 saw the culmination of the early years experimentation and exploration, it also saw Eastmond's compulsion to explore the Jewish side of his identity as an artist and a growing sense of identification with Zorn's Masada books and Radical Jewish Culture series come to the fore and coalesce into the recording of Ghetto.
The bands debut full-length album is an ambitious large scale work comprising three configurations of ensemble, including the full 22 piece Big Band. This ten movement narrative suite commemorating the Warsaw Ghetto uprising is a deeply personal journey.