Darcy James Argue At Iridium November 25th

October 1, 2009
© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

On Wednesday, November 25th, composer/conductor Darcy James Argue and his acclaimed big band, Secret Society, will make their first-ever appearance at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club. The 18-piece ensemble, which released its highly regarded debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), in May, will play two sets, beginning at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. For this performance, Argue and the band will welcome special guest drummer Kendrick Scott (Terence Blanchard, Jimmy Greene, Gretchen Parlato).

“Kendrick last played with Secret Society in November 2006 at the Bowery Poetry Club,” Argue explains, “and it’s a thrill to welcome him back into the fold. I’m a huge fan of his playing—he’s both highly inventive and sublimely grooving, and he’s an amazing listener. I’ve written a lot of music since he last played with us and I’m very excited to hear what Kendrick will bring to that material.” He adds, “I’m pleased our first performance at a marquee NYC jazz club happens to be at the one that’s been open-minded enough to host performances by groups like Anthony Braxton’s 12+1tet and the Cecil Taylor Big Band.”

Thanks to the phenomenal critical response to Infernal Machines, which gave credence to the strong word-of-mouth following the band has built over the past four years, Argue is one of 2009’s most talked about jazz musicians. Active as both a composer/bandleader and influential blogger, his recent career highlights include a series of features in jazz and non-jazz publications alike, three nominations in this year’s Jazz Journalists Association Awards and high profile concerts in New York as well as Germany, The Netherlands and his native Canada, where he conducted an all-star performance of a new, specially commissioned piece at the National Jazz Awards. Most recently, he was tapped to write the liner notes for Dave Douglas’ forthcoming big band release, A Single Sky (Greenleaf).

Saxophonist Donny McCaslin And Friends Heat Up The Night

December 15, 2008

The Hartford Courant‘s Chuck Obuchowski reviewed the Donny McCaslin Trio’s season-ending performance at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 in Sunday’s paper. McCaslin’s group, featuring bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Jonathan Blake, was celebrating its acclaimed debut, Recommended Tools (Greenleaf Music).

“Although the threesome has had less than a year to work together,” Obuchowski wrote, “their tight rapport never faltered at Firehouse 12. While his roots in the bebop tradition were discernible Friday (he enjoyed slipping the occasional bop quote into his solos), the saxophonist has developed a distinctive sound, both as a player and a writer. McCaslin’s effusive blowing led the way for two hours of engaging improvised music on a full-moon night.”

Donny McCaslin Trio Preview In The Hartford Courant

December 11, 2008

Jazz columnist Owen McNally previews the Donny McCaslin Trio’s December 12th performance at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 in today’s Hartford Courant.  

The band’s two sets this Friday night, celebrating its recent release, Recommended Tools (Greenleaf Music), will close the venue’s 12-event 2008 Fall Jazz Series.  

Tickets are still available here.

Reminder: Firehouse 12 To Present The Donny McCaslin Trio This Friday

December 8, 2008


On Friday, December 12th, Firehouse 12‘s 2008 Fall Jazz Series will conclude with a two-set performance by acclaimed tenor saxophonist/composer Donny McCaslin and his trio featuring bassist Hans Glawischnig (Ray Barretto, Stefon Harris, Miguel Zenon) and drummer Johnathan Blake (Tom Harrell, Russell Malone, Jaleel Shaw).  The group will be celebrating its debut release, Recommended Tools, McCaslin’s seventh recording as a leader and his first on frequent collaborator Dave Douglas’ label, Greenleaf Music.  The disc features nine original McCaslin compositions inspired by influences ranging from Bill Frisell to Hermeto Pascoal to Igor Stravinsky.

“A brilliant take on the hallowed tenor trio tradition,” writes AllAboutJazz.com reviewer Troy Collins, “Recommended Tools is not only a high water mark for McCaslin, but one of the most beguiling records of the year.”  DownBeat‘s John Corbett agreed, writing, “It’s a terrific outing, with solid original material at the service of a ferocious player and a great rhythm section.  There’s nothing frivolous, no errors of judgment—just energizing jazz in a lean setting with lots to love.”  “McCaslin’s blowing may be brawny,” added Steve Greenlee in JazzTimes, “but it is equally thoughtful.  His work is blistering and beautiful, sometimes in the same moment.”

Inspired by his musician father, McCaslin began playing tenor saxophone at age 12.  Early in his professional career, following studies at the Berklee College of Music, he toured for four years with the Gary Burton Quintet before moving to New York in 1991, where he quickly found work with Eddie Gomez and the jazz fusion group, Steps Ahead.  He has since performed and recorded with a long list of notable bandleaders, including Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez, Maria Schneider, George Schuller and Luciana Souza among many others, though he is perhaps best known for his recent membership in the Dave Douglas Quintet.  In addition to his extensive work as an in-demand sideman, McCaslin has led his own groups for the past decade, recording for the Arabesque, Criss Cross, Naxos and Sunnyside labels.  

2008 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/19: Steve Lantner Trio
09/26: Conference Call  
10/03: Ned Rothenberg’s Sync
10/10: Shakers n’ Bakers   
10/17: Josh Roseman’s Execution Quintet
10/24: Bad Touch
10/31: Magic
11/07: George Schuller’s Circle Wide
11/14: Jamie Baum Septet
11/21: Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
12/05: The Flatlands Collective
12/12: Donny McCaslin Trio

Tickets and more information available at: