The New York new music organization Bang on A Can continues to extend its empire by now reaching out to conquer the world of marching bands. The Asphalt Orchestra is the BoaC's audacious reinvention of a tradition that seems hopelessly old-fashioned. Using lots of horns and percussion, and, yes, occasionally parading through the plazas and streets of New York, the Asphalt Orchestra also re-imagines a remarkable array of music that was never meant for such peripatetic playing. The group's opening salvo is a spirited rendition of Frank Zappa's "Zomby Wolf," which acknowledges Zappa's musical cunning and his wit. Bjork's oft-covered "Hyper-Ballad" is another high point — as unexpected as it is rocking. As if to prove the band's serious chops, they also perform a work by Goran Bregovic, the Parisian-based ex-Yugoslav composer, whose "Champagne" reflects his longstanding relationship with Balkan brass band music.
Elsewhere, the Asphalt Orchestra romps through everything from classic jazz (Mingus's "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife") to modern prog-rock (Tyondai Braxton from the band Battles, who contributes "Pulse March"). It's got a good beat, and you can march to it.