A reporter recently asked members of the band Escort if any of them are gay. Turns out, unbeknownst to co-founder Eugene Cho, at least one is.
''Because there are so many of us, we don't really know everybody that intimately,'' Cho says, recalling the interview. ''Our trombone player said, 'Oh yeah, I'm gay.'''
Obviously, Escort isn't your typical band -- and not just because it features a gay trombone player. Escort is a full-fledged disco orchestra, featuring a roster of 17 musicians and singers performing original disco music co-written and produced by Cho and Dan Balis. The two met last decade while DJ-ing in New York. ''A lot of the house records were sampling old disco records,'' Cho explains. ''We started to think, 'Why don't we make our own records that are in that spirit?''
(Photo by Victor Diaz Lamich)
The two settled on the name Escort because, as Cho says, laughing, ''it's classy and kind of sleazy at the same time, which is just what we're trying to be.'' A couple years into the project Parisian-born Adeline Michele signed on to be the band's lead singer, carrying out, as Cho puts it, ''the strong disco tradition of the diva. Adeline is definitely up there as an amazing diva.'' Even only on record, notably Escort's strong self-titled debut album, Michele proves she has the voice and the charisma to play the role.
''It's very hard to travel, obviously, with the full 17 people,'' says Cho, a Boston native who now lives in Brooklyn. Some venues in faraway cities only see and hear as few as five members of the orchestra. But next Thursday, March 28, the 9:30 Club stage will be filled with 14 members. ''We'll be able to do something that's rarely seen outside of New York,'' Cho says. ''It's a party onstage when you have that many people trying to have fun and play music. And that feeling translates off the stage and into the crowd. It's pretty infectious.'' -- Doug Rule
Escort performs Thursday, March 28, at Nightclub 9:30, 815 V St. NW. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com. Also visit 930.com/friends to sign up for the club's new Friends With Benefits rewards program.