Infernal Machines On Neil Tesser’s Top 10 List

December 31, 2009

Multi-facted jazz industry veteran Neil Tesser writes about what he feels are the 10 most important jazz recordings of 2009 in his capacity as the increasingly prolific Chicago Jazz Music Examiner at

At number four on his list is Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam).

“Darcy James Argue’s 18-piece jazz orchestra had never made an album,” Tesser recalls, “for those outside of New York, the band existed primarily in rumor and reputation. Then comes this collection of seven brilliantly scored, utterly inventive, masterfully performed large-scale works, each brimming with high energy and new sounds, but also showing a firm command of the big-band tradition.”

He adds, “The Vancouver-born Argue studied with Bob Brookmeyer, a legendary figure in jazz orchestration, known first for his work with Gerry Mulligan in the 50s and then, in the 80s, with what is now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. But I hear in Argue’s work a more direct link to the man who provided the seeds for the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra – the composer and arranger Thad Jones, who rewrote the book on jazz composition in the 1970s. (And in my book, praise doesn’t come much higher than that.)

Neil Tesser On KLANG

November 19, 2009

Veteran author, jazz critic and broadcaster Neil Tesser writes about clarinetist/composer James Falzone‘s quartet KLANG, its recent release, Tea Music (Allos Documents), and its current Midwest CD release tour, in a new post for his Chicago-themed column at

“The album is on my short list of top Chicago jazz discs for 2009,” he declares. “Like Goodman and Hampton before them, Falzone and [Jason] Adasiewicz exploit the shared sonorities of their instruments, but to wildly different ends, with a gauntlet of post-modern strategies and tonal extremes. It’s a captivating disc from start to finish…the quartet improvises with invention, authority, and elegance. And with [Jason] Roebke and [Tim] Daisy (two of the most versatile new-music artists in the Midwest) on hand, the rhythm section pulses with brains as well as the appropriate brawn.”

KLANG’s tour continues this week, with dates in Ohio and Wisconsin, concluding on Sunday with a hometown gig at The Hungry Brain.