In The Studio This Week: Vox Arcana + The Infrared Band

January 7, 2010

Photo by GABURU

Drummer Tim Daisy’s Vox Arcana (pictured above) and guitarist Eric Hofbauer’s The Infrared Band are each in the studio this week recording music for release later in the year on the Allos Documents and Creative Nation Music labels, respectively.

The former is a Chicago-based trio featuring Daisy, clarinetist James Falzone and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and the latter is a Boston-based quartet featuring Hofbauer, saxophonist Kelly Roberge, bassist Sean Farias and drummer Miki Matsuki.

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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.”


Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society To Perform Twice During 2010 APAP Conference

December 8, 2009

Photo by Chad Batka for The New York Times

Composer Darcy James Argue and his acclaimed ensemble, Secret Society, will perform on back-to-back nights in early January during the 2010 Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference in New York. On Friday, January 8th at 6:20 p.m., the group will play a short set at Le Poisson Rouge as part of the 2010 NYC Winter JazzFest. The following night at The Jazz Gallery, the band will play two full sets, starting at 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. respectively, and unveil a newly written composition.

“Le Poisson Rouge and The Jazz Gallery are our two favorite venues to play in New York,” Argue explains, “as you can probably tell by the frequency with which we return. They put the music first and treat the artists with basic human decency—qualities that are vanishingly rare, especially in today’s climate. These venues are exceptional in other ways: the Jazz Gallery is one of NYC’s few independent, not-for-profit performance spaces devoted exclusively to jazz, while Le Poisson Rouge is the only club in town where you can listen to a performance of the complete Xenakis string quartets while knocking back a Red Stripe.”

“A year ago,” he continues, “we kicked off The Jazz Gallery’s Large Ensemble Commissions Series. Immediately thereafter we went into the studio to record Infernal Machines. It would appear The Jazz Gallery is an auspicious spot to present new works. I figured we’d best do it again. Also, we are extremely excited to be a part of this year’s Winter JazzFest, which is a rare opportunity to hear sets by established artists like Nicholas Payton and Matt Wilson on the same bill as killing new talent like Mark Guiliana and Chelsea Baratz. The lineup represents a broad spectrum of the most exciting music coming out of the New York jazz scene right now, without getting hung up on a particular scene or sound.”

After slowly developing his sound over the course of the past four years, Argue became one of the most talked about new voices of 2009 thanks to the response to his debut release, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), and the series of performances that followed in New York, Germany, The Netherlands and his native Canada. The new decade begins where the last one left off, with two notable January performances in New York followed by upcoming dates in Boston and beyond. In addition to the new piece being premiered at The Jazz Gallery, Argue will also be working on a new composition for the new music ensemble, Newspeak, thanks to a grant from the American Composers Forum’s Jerome Composers Commissioning Program.


Infrared Band + Dead Cat Bounce Tonight In Cambridge, MA

September 23, 2009

© 2008 Angela Rowlings/Boston Herald

© 2008 Angela Rowlings/Boston Herald

Boston-based guitarist/composer Eric Hofbauer and his longstanding quartet, The Infrared Band, will perform tonight at the Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre in Cambridge, MA. Also on the bill is fellow Boston jazz scene mainstay, Dead Cat Bounce. The music begins at 8:00 p.m.

The Infrared Band will perform selections from its 2008 debut, Myth Understanding (Creative Nation Music), as well new music. Its current line-up features saxophonist Kelly Roberge, bassist Sean Farias and drummer Miki Matsuki.

This event will be Hofbauer’s unofficial farewell to Boston before heading to France for most of October and November as part of the traveling production of Julius Caesar directed by Arthur Nauzyciel. He is reprising his role as a member of the on-stage jazz trio from last year’s production at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, also directed by Nauzyciel.


Eric Hofbauer Awarded Mass. Cultural Council Artist Fellowship

June 18, 2009
© 2008 Angela Rowlings/Boston Herald

© 2008 Angela Rowlings/Boston Herald

Creative Nation Music is proud to announce its founder, guitarist/composer Eric Hofbauer, has been honored with the 2009 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Music Composition. He plans to use the $10,000 cash award to compose new music for his working quartet, The Infrared Band, complete a new book on modern improvisation methods, and mix and master his next solo recording, American Fear.

One of the Boston jazz scene’s most prolific artists for more than a decade, Hofbauer has been called “a refreshingly original voice” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), “a brilliant player” (Ron Wynn, Nashville City Paper) and “a major young talent” (Rick Anderson, All Music Guide). Critics have also noted his “intriguingly original music” (Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes), calling it “deft and inventive” (Brian Marley, The Wire) and “rewarding on every level” (Michael Coyle, Cadence). His most recent release as a leader is 2008’s Myth Understanding (Creative Nation Music).

In addition to his efforts as an award-winning musician, Hofbauer is also a respected purveyor of performance and recording opportunities for other local musicians. The Creative Nation Music label, which grew out of a concert series and later an online storefront for recordings by Boston-based performers, celebrated its 5th anniversary earlier this year and has released more than a dozen recordings to date. He is also a teacher of jazz guitar and jazz history at Emerson College and The University of Rhode Island. Learn more about Hofbauer, his recordings and his efforts as a cultivator of Boston jazz at http://cnmpro.com


The Fully Celebrated’s AUM Fidelity Debut Released Today

May 26, 2009


Today is the official street date for The Fully Celebrated‘s seventh recording, and AUM Fidelity debut, Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM054). Led by saxophonist Jim Hobbs, and formerly known as The Fully Celebrated Orchestra, the group has been a fixture on Boston’s jazz scene for more than two decades.

For its first recording in four years, the founding line-up of Hobbs, bassist Timo Shanko and drummer Django Carranza returned to the studio to document eight new quintessentially eclectic compositions. CD release concerts are scheduled for May 28th at Barbès in Brooklyn, New York and May 29th at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Skillfully mixing reggae beats and Dub technology into the mix,” writes AllAboutJazz.com’s Troy Collins, “this session adds a new wrinkle while maintaining their core appeal—catchy, mercurial tunes buoyed by visceral improvisation. Hobbs, the leader and primary songwriter, is one of his generation’s most gifted altoists; his ability to effortlessly glide between pitches and microtones enables a boundless capacity for tonal expression. Filled with memorable melodies, stirring interplay and a wealth of sonic variety, Drunk On The Blood Of The Holy Ones is a welcome return from one of the most resourceful saxophone trios working today.”


All Music Guide Reviews The Fully Celebrated

April 28, 2009


Michael G. Nastos’ early review of The Fully Celebrated’s Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity) is now posted at AllMusic.com 

“Spare music yet fully formed,” he writes, “this talented trio provides interesting sounds all listeners of creative improvised music should thoroughly enjoy.”

The Fully Celebrated, formerly known as The Fully Celebrated Orchestra, is alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, bassist Timo Shanko and drummer Django Carranza.

Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones, the band’s first recording in four years, hits the streets May 26th.

CD release celebrations are scheduled for Thursday, May 28th at Barbès (Brooklyn, New York) and Friday, May 29th at Ryles Jazz Club (Cambridge, Massachusetts).