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

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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


Improvised Communications To Represent Darcy James Argue

June 25, 2009
Photo by Ben Anaman

Photo by Ben Anaman

Improvised Communications is pleased to announce it has been retained as the exclusive media contact for New York-based composer/bandleader Darcy James Argue. This new partnership, which builds on a relationship that began with the promotion of Argue’s acclaimed 2009 debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), will officially begin July 1st. Argue’s 18-piece steampunk big band, Secret Society, will next perform in New York on July 15th at Le Poisson Rouge and September 18th at Jazz Gallery. The band will also take part in a four-ensemble big band festival, curated by Argue, on October 19th at Brooklyn’s The Bell House.

Infernal Machines has been called “a potent debut” (Nate Chinen, New York Times), “a wholly original take on big band’s past, present and future” (Seth Colter Walls, Newsweek), “a seven-track marvel of imagination” (David R. Adler, Time Out New York) and “a fully integrated sound world as current as it is timeless” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com). “Infernal Machines ably demonstrates what all the fuss has been about,” adds BBC.com reviewer John Eyles. “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.”

Argue is 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. In addition to the critical success of Infernal Machines, recent career highlights include 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. The recipient of a variety of commissions and composition awards, Argue accepted his latest, the SOCAN/CAJE Phil Nimmons Emerging Composer Award, in May at Canada’s National Jazz Awards in Toronto. Learn more at http://secretsociety.typepad.com


BBC Reviews Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines

June 5, 2009

John Eyles reviews Darcy James Argue’s debut release, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), in a June 2nd post in the Music section of the BBC Web site.

Infernal Machines ably demonstrates what all the fuss has been about,” he writes. “Secret Society achieves a nearly perfect creative synthesis between tradition and innovation, without obvious tensions. The band displays many of the attractions of steam-age big-bands: tight ensemble playing, memorable themes, imaginative arrangements, and fine soloists. 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.”

Catch the New York-based band, which just returned from its first European tour, tonight at the International House in Philadelphia as part of the Ars Nova Workshop series.