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


Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines Released Today

May 12, 2009

Today is the official street date for Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), the long-awaited studio debut of composer Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.

I could go ahead and tell you that the media, both jazz and the other kinds, have come out in unanimous support of this one, but showing you is probably the more effective way to go.

So, you can go here to check out some of Darcy’s favorite pull quotes, or you can go right to the source and read the original pieces in publications such as AllAboutJazz.com (feature), AllAboutJazz.com (review), NewMusicBox.org, the New York Times, Newsweek, NPRMusic.com, the Ottawa Citizen, Time Out New York and the Village Voice.

Lots more coverage of this one is on the way, so please stay tuned.

FYI, the group will be performing at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam (May 28th), Domicil in Dortmund, Germany (May 29th), the Moers Festival in Moers, Germany (May 31st), and the International House in Philadelphia, PA (June 5th) as part of the Ars Nova Workshop series.

The Vancouver native will also premiere a new, specially commissioned work at Canada’s National Jazz Awards on May 14th to be performed by the all-star Darcy Hepner Jazz Orchestra.