Darcy James Argue Returns To Boston February 25th

January 6, 2010

Photo by Lindsay Beyerstein

On Thursday, February 25th, acclaimed New York-based composer, and New England Conservatory alumnus, Darcy James Argue will return to Boston with his innovative 18-piece big band, Secret Society, for a performance at Regattabar. This will be the four year-old ensemble’s Boston debut, and first concert in New England since the release of its celebrated 2009 recording, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), which appeared on more than 70 best-of-the-year lists and was named Best Debut in the prestigious Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll.

“Argue’s tunes can command your attention anywhere,” writes Newsweek‘s Seth Colter Walls, “no small feat in our media-saturated world.” Critics called the record “a seven-track marvel of imagination” (David R. Adler, Time Out New York), “a fully integrated sound world as current as it is timeless” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), “a nearly perfect creative synthesis between tradition and innovation” (John Eyles, BBC) and “a wickedly intelligent dispatch from the fading border between orchestral jazz and post-rock and classical minimalism” (Nate Chinen, New York Times). JazzTimes‘ Michael J. West adds, “With their haunting compositions and imaginative experiments, Argue’s Secret Society might do for jazz what Radiohead did for rock—and poach some of its audience, too.”

A Vancouver native, and former member of the Montreal jazz scene, Argue moved to New York in 2003 after earning a Master’s Degree in Boston while studying with legendary composer/arranger Bob Brookmeyer. Heralded for both his composing skills and his role as one of the jazz world’s most prominent bloggers, he has been profiled on National Public Radio (NPR) and in publications such as Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. His rise to prominence in 2009 was further aided by notable performances around New York as well as in Germany, The Netherlands and Canada, where he conducted an all-star performance of a new, specially commissioned piece at the National Jazz Awards. The Boston Globe‘s Joan Anderman concludes, “Argue is that rare bird in any genre—an original thinker—but his real gift is in transposing big ideas into music that is as inviting as it is innovative.”


Infernal Machines Is One Of The New York Observer’s 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2009

December 23, 2009

Resident jazz critic Devin Leonard includes Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) on his 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2009 list in today’s New York Observer.

“As the name of his nu big band suggests” Leonard writes, “the composer-bandleader-blogger Darcy James Argue sees himself as an artistic insurgent. He is a former student of trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, celebrated for his work as an arranger who broke new ground as an arranger for the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra in the sixties and seventies. But Infernal Machines also draws on the minimalism of Steve Reich and the apocalyptic rock and roll of Radiohead. This is also music with a message, a decidedly leftist one. What else would you expect from a Canadian jazz man resettled in Carroll Gardens?”


Darcy James Argue To Host Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza October 19th

August 20, 2009
© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

On Monday, October 19th, SearchAndRestore.com will present Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza, a celebration of innovative big bands organized by acclaimed composer Darcy James Argue, at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Performers will include Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Andrew Durkin’s Industrial Jazz Group and Argue’s own acclaimed 18-piece steampunk big band, Secret Society, which will headline the event. All three bands are led by composers working to reinvigorate the big band format for the 21st Century by integrating influences from a wide variety of other sounds and genres.

“Monday night has long been the traditional big band night in New York,” Argue explains, “so it seemed like it could be fun to take a Monday night at a rock club and use that for a non-traditional big band showcase. The Bjorkestra, the Industrial Jazz Group, and Secret Society represent three very distinct approaches to the project of re-imagining the classic jazz big band. But we’re all trying, in our own way, to engage with stuff that’s outside of the jazz tradition and make it our own, whether it’s by lovingly deconstructing songs like Björk’s ‘Hyperballad’, posing existential questions like ‘Should I Play in the Industrial Jazz Group or in Christina Aguilera’s Band?’ or juxtaposing Bernard Purdie grooves with bulería patterns.”

A native of Vancouver, and former member of the Montreal jazz scene, Argue moved to New York in 2003 after earning a Master’s Degree in Boston while studying with legendary composer Bob Brookmeyer. Since the debut of Secret Society in 2005, he has become one of the most visible and respected musicians in New York, as well as one of the jazz world’s most prolific and influential bloggers. His recent career highlights include the release of his widely celebrated debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), profiles in publications such as the New York Observer, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice, and three nominations in this year’s Jazz Journalists Association Awards.

The Bell House is located at 149 7th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in the Gowanus area of Park Slope in Brooklyn. Venue information is available at http://www.thebellhouseny.com or by calling (718) 643-6510. Music will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and will be available in advance online through TicketWeb.


Darcy James Argue To Perform At New Languages Festival & Jazz Gallery In September

July 21, 2009
Photo by Ben Anaman

Photo by Ben Anaman

This September, composer/conductor Darcy James Argue and his 18-piece steampunk big band, Secret Society, will perform in New York on two consecutive nights.

On Thursday, September 17th at 11:30 p.m., the group will appear at the fifth annual New Languages Festival at McCarren Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The following night, at 9:00 and 10:30 p.m, Argue and the ensemble will return to Manhattan’s Jazz Gallery, which commissioned two of the tracks heard on its acclaimed debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam). These concerts will mark the first-ever performances of Argue’s latest composition.

Critics have credited Argue with creating “a nearly perfect creative synthesis between tradition and innovation” (John Eyles, BBC.com), “a fully integrated sound world as current as it is timeless” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com) and “startling and satisfying original music played by some very impressive musicians” (Michael G. Nastos, AllMusic.com).

“We’re just past the halfway point, and the acclaimed young bandleader’s Infernal Machines is 2009’s consensus jazz disc,” adds the Village Voice‘s Jim Macnie. “A fanfare here, a freak-out there, enough dark hues and ingenious oddities to woo a twenty-something audience that doesn’t know or care about the ancient stack o’ riffs that big bands were built on; it’s all here.”

A native of Vancouver, and former member of the Montreal jazz scene, Argue moved to New York in 2003 after earning a Master’s Degree in Boston while studying with legendary composer Bob Brookmeyer. Since the debut of Secret Society in 2005, he has become one of the most visible and respected musicians in New York, as well as one of the jazz world’s most prolific and influential bloggers.

His recent career highlights include profiles in publications such as the New York ObserverNewsweek, the Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice, three nominations in this year’s Jazz Journalists Association Awards and performances at such notable European venues as the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and the legendary Moers Festival in Germany. Learn more at http://secretsociety.typepad.com


New Cadence Reviews

July 16, 2009

Cadence_cvr
The Jul/Aug/Sep 2009 issue of Cadence arrived to subscribers this week, and with it a number of enthusiastic reviews of our clients’ recent recordings.

Here are a few highlights:

In his review of Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music), Phillip McNally writes, “Using the blues and improvised melody, Fewell’s sextet creates something like a completely tonal yet free music…the results are solid, approachable and at the same time richly complex…I for one would love to catch this Variable Density Sound Orchestra live.”

“I unhestiatingly give Muse my highest recommendation,” declares David Kane in his review of The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra‘s second release. “She claims Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmeyer as muses but, to my ear, she has already equaled and perhaps surpassed these august icons in sheer musical sophistication. It’s quite clear on the evidence of this recording that Ayn Inserto has a bright future ahead of her.”

Jay Collins calls David S. Ware’s Shakti (AUM Fidelity) “intensely personal, with a spiritual directness that looks to India, but, also, with an outcome that is surprisingly accessible. Ware remains faithful to his sense of purpose and direction, while also offering sounds that are palatable enough for folks that may have been overwhelmed by previous work.”

“This band has an impressively wide range of textures to draw upon,” explains Stuart Kremsky in his review of William Parker’s Double Sunrise Over Neptune (AUM Fidelity). “The infectious and insistent rhythms of the ensemble draw you right in, and the pleasing density of the band keeps you there. Parker’s projects as a leader invariably result in some of the most rewarding and creative music being made by anyone, and this gem is no exception.”


More Darcy James Argue CD Reviews

July 8, 2009


Another week means another batch of incoming reviews of Darcy James Argue’s debut CD, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records).

  • Gavin Breeden became the latest writer to include the record on a “best music of the year so far” list on his blog, Tone Marrow Reviews. He adds, “Is it big band music? Is it jazz? Is it punk? It’s all three and it’s terrific. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever listened to.”
  • “The composer has put a lot of work into developing harmonies and moods that echo both traditional big band and jazz fusion,” explains La Scena Musicale‘s Alexandre Lazaridès (via translation from the original French) in the publication’s July/August issue. “The judicious use of electronic effects enriches the fascinating textures without overwhelming them. Ambitious and visionary, the work of this young composer is perfectly in line with the great ensembles of our time, including that of Maria Schneider, with whom he has studied.”
  • Finally, in his review for The Globe and Mail, J.D. Considine writes, “Argue is a composer and bandleader whose work combines the rhythmic insistence of late Gil Evans with the colouristic approach of Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmeyer. Infernal Machines ranges from the modernist Zeno, with its bright pastels and straight-eight pulse, to the elegiac Habeas Corpus (for Maher Arar), while the solos are exquisite, particularly trumpeter Ingrid Jensen on Transit and Sebastian Noelle’s screaming guitar on Redeye.”

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society At Le Poisson Rouge July 15th

July 1, 2009
© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

On Wednesday, July 15th at 7:30 p.m., composer/conductor Darcy James Argue will perform at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge with his 18-piece steampunk big band, Secret Society.

This event, the group’s first concert in its native New York since the release of its acclaimed debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), will feature the American premiere of “Hard Up on the Down Low”, a commissioned piece Argue premiered at Canada’s National Jazz Awards in May.

He describes the piece, which showcases longtime collaborator Ingrid Jensen’s electronically processed trumpet, as “a cheery little anthem of global financial collapse. It’s built around two Bernard Purdie beats that have been juxtaposed to create a quasi-bulería pattern.”

Its original performance, prior to his being awarded the SOCAN/CAJE Phil Nimmons Emerging Composer Award by the man himself, featured Argue conducting the all-star Darcy Hepner Orchestra. This is the first time it will be played live by his own ensemble, which the Wall Street Journal‘s Martin Johnson calls “one of the leading new big bands in jazz.”

Noted independent radio station WFMU will record the concert for future broadcast.

“Argue’s tunes can command your attention anywhere,” writes Newsweek‘s Seth Colter Walls, “no small feat in our media-saturated world.” Critics have called him “a masterful tunesmith” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), “an exciting stylist with an abundance of ideas” (James Hale, Jazz Chronicles) and “an indefatigable young composer” (Nate Chinen, New York Times).

The BBC’s John Eyles adds, “Secret Society achieves a nearly perfect creative synthesis between tradition and innovation, without obvious tensions. Darcy James Argue has created a big band for the twenty-first century that builds on the strengths of the past while using the genre to produce dynamic contemporary music.

A native of Vancouver, and former member of the Montreal jazz scene, Argue moved to New York in 2003 after earning a Master’s Degree in Boston while studying with legendary composer Bob Brookmeyer. Since the debut of Secret Society in 2005, he has become one of the most visible and respected musicians in New York, as well as one of the jazz world’s most prolific and influential bloggers.

His recent career highlights include profiles in publications such as Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice, three nominations in this year’s Jazz Journalists Association Awards and performances at such notable European venues as the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and the legendary Moers Festival in Germany. Learn more at http://secretsociety.typepad.com