DownBeat Puts Darcy James Argue In The Hot Box

August 11, 2009

We know what you’re thinking, “Nobody puts Darcy James Argue in a Hot Box!”

And normally you’d be right, but DownBeat is the exception. The September issue finds Argue’s acclaimed debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), entered into the Thunderdome-like monthly reviews feature called The Hot Box.

Okay, it’s not quite that extreme, as all four CDs that enter usually get to leave as well (often with a limp), but it does involve four critics holding four buzzed-about new records to a higher standard in what might be more accurately compared to a Senate confirmation hearing.

Do 33 year-old steampunk big band leaders have a wiser and more empathetic insight into the major issues of the day? That’s a question for another time, but we can report that our hero fared well.

“With his throbbing beats, drones, brass choirs, space-age eeriness and billowing clouds of sound, Argue is clearly an original,” declared Paul de Barros in one of the capsule reviews.

In the featured review, Jim Macnie wrote, “There’s a critical consensus around this disc, but few pundits are stressing just how gorgeous Argue’s motifs are. Infernal Machines is addictive not only for its architecture, but for its fetching way with color…we’ll be remembering it for quite some time.”

Argue and the group will next perform on back-to-back nights in September at the New Languages Festival and The Jazz Gallery. Stay tuned for more dates in October and November to be announced soon!

AAJ-NY: KLANG’s Tea Music

August 5, 2009

Kurt Gottschalk reviews Tea Music (Allos Documents), the forthcoming debut release from clarinetist/composer James Falzone‘s quartet KLANG, in the August issue of AllAboutJazz-New York.

The group features vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy.

The conceptual framing here is the love for a cup of tea (several of the
compositions also carry titular references) and the music is appropriately cerebral yet relaxing..the quartet…works exceedingly well together as a group. With 12 tracks and three of the four members contributing compositions, they maintain a nicely coherent feel throughout.

“The conceptual framing here is the love for a cup of tea,” he writes, “and the music is appropriately cerebral yet relaxing…the quartet…works exceedingly well together as a group. With 12 tracks and three of the four members contributing compositions, they maintain a nicely coherent feel throughout.”

Earlier in this same issue, David R. Adler chose the disc, which officially hits the streets on August 25th, as one of his six recommended new releases of the month.

A mainstay at various festivals, concert series and venues around Chicago since 2006, KLANG will celebrate the Benny Goodman centennial at the invitation of the Chicago Jazz Festival on September 6th, mark the release of Tea Music at The Hideout on September 23rd and then embark on its first tour in mid-November.

Free Jazz: Joe Morris’ Wildlife + Carl Maguire’s Sided Silver Solid

August 4, 2009
Photo by Joshua Ponte

Carl Maguire's Floriculture by Joshua Ponte

Last week, while we were away enjoying an all-too-rare vacation from our electronic devices, Stef Gijssels reviewed both Joe Morris/Petr Cancura/Luther Gray’s debut, Wildlife (AUM Fidelity), and Sided Silver Solid (Firehouse 12 Records), the second release from Carl Maguire’s Floriculture, on his popular blog, Free Jazz.

He succinctly sums up Wildlife by writing,Luther Gray is great. Morris as unpredictable as ever —and I always welcome his lyricism on bass. Cancura is a guy to watch. Enjoy!”

“Carl Maguire creates a musical experience that is really out of the ordinary,” Gijssels declares, “mixing lots of extended techniques, with cinematic imagery, eery sounds and beautiful soloing. It is different, and no matter how much you listen to it, you will discover new things. A great record.”

Mary Halvorson Trio In California This Week

August 3, 2009
Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Fresh off a long road trip touring the right half of America with Jessica Pavone last week, guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson is on the move again, this time in a big jet plane, for two gigs in California with her acclaimed trio featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith.

But don’t fret New York, your favorite lady guitarist will be back by the weekend so she can perform with Matana Roberts at The Stone on Sunday.

Later in the month, after a few weeks of relative quiet, she’ll be back on stage in Gotham with Tom Rainey, The Thirteenth Assembly and Marc Ribot’s Sun Ship, the latter of which will also head off to more neutral digs in Willisau, Switzerland on August 30th.

Here’s the complete rundown for the month:

Mary Halvorson Trio
Tuesday, August 4th @ Yoshi’s (Oakland, CA)
Thursday, August 6th @ The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA)

Matana Roberts
Sunday, August 9th @ The Stone (New York, NY)

Tom Rainey
Friday, August 21st @ The Stone (New York, NY)

Thirteenth Assembly
Tuesday, August 25th @ Freddy’s Bar & Backroom (Brooklyn, NY)

Marc Ribot’s Sun Ship
Wednesday, August 26th @ Rose (Brooklyn, NY)
Sunday, August 30th @ Jazz in Willisau (Willisau, Switzerland)

KLANG To Celebrate New CD At The Hideout In September

July 23, 2009
Photo by David Sampson

Photo by David Sampson

On Wednesday, September 23rd, clarinetist/composer James Falzone‘s three year-old working quartet KLANG will celebrate the release of its debut studio recording, Tea Music (Allos Documents), with a hometown performance at The Hideout in Chicago.

The band, which will pay tribute to Benny Goodman at the Chicago Jazz Festival earlier in the month, features vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy. All four members compose for the group, which picks up the swing era thread of pairing clarinet and vibes, while also exploring its collective interest in the innovative sounds of Jimmy Giuffre‘s early small groups of the mid-1950’s.

“Klang is the German word for sound or sonority,” Falzone explains. “The mixing of vibes and clarinet is a sound explored famously by Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton in the pre-bop era, and then taken up again by Eric Dolphy and Bobby Hutcherson. There is something in the acoustic make-up of the two instruments that allows them to blend well.”

“As for the Giuffre connection,” he adds, “I’ve always been taken with his early groups and his unique approach to his instrument has fascinated, confused and delighted me beyond explanation since I heard The Jimmy Giuffre Clarinet at 12 years old. The guys in KLANG are all as into him as I am—everyone here in Chicago is, actually.”

Tea Music takes its name from Falzone’s penchant for drinking tea while composing and is the first opportunity for the rest of the world to hear one of Chicago’s most respected local groups on the rise. “The band plays tight compositions with chamber ensemble precision, yet with a jazz band’s sense of swing,” writes’s Mark Corroto. “The music, attributed to all four members is neat, concise and engagingly hip.”

In addition to founding KLANG, and his own group, Allos Musica, Falzone is a member of Keefe Jackson’s Project Project and Dutch saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra’s Flatlands Collective among other ensembles. His most recent recording is 2007’s The Sign and the Thing Signified (Allos Documents). Learn more at

Morris/Cancura/Gray’s Wildlife Released Today On AUM Fidelity

July 14, 2009

Today is the official street date for Wildlife (AUM056), the debut of the new collective ensemble of the same name featuring Joe Morris, Petr Cancura and Luther Gray.

It is also Morris’ first release as a leader/co-leader for the label since his 2001 solo guitar recording, Singularity (AUM018), and the second of the three 2009 releases on the label to feature him in a prominent role. The others are David S. Ware’s Shakti (AUM052) and the Joe Morris Quartet’s Today on Earth (AUM058), coming in October.

The band will celebrate its release this Friday night at Barbès in Brooklyn and at The Local 269 in Manhattan on Monday, August 10th.

Here’s a sample of this record’s enthusiastic reception thus far:

“This album is a masterful showcase for three brilliant musicians.”
Phil Freeman,

“The album’s four long tracks were spontaneously conceived and Mr. Morris steers the action with bullish clarity, whether he’s plucking tangled clusters or walking four beats to the bar. His rapport with Mr. Gray, a regular colleague, runs impressively deep. More surprising is his bond with Mr. Cancura, a relative newcomer (to me, at least) whose robust exertions on alto and tenor access free-jazz legacies from both sides of the Atlantic.”
Nate Chinen, New York Times

“…a thoroughly assured outing. Certainly no one takes the back seat, but Cancura’s engagement with various post-bop options is undoubtedly the heart of this group’s vitality. It’s his robust sound and its dynamic presence that galvanises Gray and Morris, who are clearly loving it.”
Julian Cowley, The Wire

“This music is collectively improvised, the result of a spontaneous process made with a deep awareness of decades of free jazz practice…the players are free to be themselves, to draw at will from a continuum of ideas about how to interact, and to perhaps show a side that they don’t elsewhere.”
Bill Meyer, Dusted

“The trio’s congenial interplay is superlative, whether careening through the quicksilver changes of ‘Nettle’ or extrapolating the somber motifs of ‘Crow.’ A compelling document of the saxophone trio tradition as a democratic exchange of ideas, Wildlife presents three masterful improvisers at the top of their game.”
Troy Collins, Darcy James Argue At The Moers Festival

July 6, 2009
© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

In his July 5th review of the Moers Festival for, Stuart Nicholson writes:

“Since their New York debut in May 2005, word-of-mouth, the Internet and latterly the press have created a buzz around Argue and on the strength of the Moers performance, it has been for good reason. Their concert was the highlight of the whole four day event, and it came complete with an encore and standing ovation. It sounded and felt as if an important voice in jazz had arrived.”