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


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.


Darcy James Argue Featured In Newsweek

April 25, 2009
Photo by Lindsay Beyerstein

Photo by Lindsay Beyerstein

Composer Darcy James Argue is featured in the May 4th issue of Newsweek.

“For a wholly original take on big band’s past, present and future, look to Darcy James Argue, a 33-year-old Brooklynite who has composed a batch of manifestoes that draws on past legacies, and adds a little postpunk energy to boot,” writes Seth Colter Walls.

“Argue’s tunes can command your attention anywhere—no small feat in our media-saturated world. He and his 18-piece Secret Society band pull off the trick by pairing electro-influenced rhythms with fuzzed-out guitars, fearsome horns and chamber-music voicings in the woodwinds. For all this panstylistic erudition, though, Argue’s music still swings hard whenever it wants.”

Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), the debut studio release from Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, will be released May 12.

The official CD release party will be May 8th at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, to be followed by live dates 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.

Argue, a 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.