Infernal Machines Is One Of The New York Observer’s 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2009

December 23, 2009

Resident jazz critic Devin Leonard includes Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) on his 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2009 list in today’s New York Observer.

“As the name of his nu big band suggests” Leonard writes, “the composer-bandleader-blogger Darcy James Argue sees himself as an artistic insurgent. He is a former student of trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, celebrated for his work as an arranger who broke new ground as an arranger for the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra in the sixties and seventies. But Infernal Machines also draws on the minimalism of Steve Reich and the apocalyptic rock and roll of Radiohead. This is also music with a message, a decidedly leftist one. What else would you expect from a Canadian jazz man resettled in Carroll Gardens?”

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Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines One Of Time Out New York’s Best Albums Of 2009

December 21, 2009

Time Out New York‘s Music Editor Steve Smith chose Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) as the only jazz record on his 10 best albums of 2009 list, published in the latest issue.

“Composer and bandleader Argue’s highly anticipated debut offered an expansive, inclusive new jazz that’s open to all,” Smith wrote.

The magazine’s five-star review of Infernal Machines, written by David R. Adler for the May 7th issue, can be found here.


Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines Makes Nate Chinen’s Top 10 Of 2009

December 19, 2009

Darcy James Argue‘s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) is number eight on Nate Chinen’s multi-genre top 10 list in Sunday’s New York Times.

“A wickedly intelligent dispatch from the fading border between orchestral jazz and post-rock and classical minimalism,” Chinen writes, “this impressive debut radiates self-assurance, and an almost chilling steadiness of conviction.”


Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines Among eMusic’s Best Albums Of 2009

December 18, 2009

Darcy James Argue‘s highly acclaimed debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam), has already turned up on dozens of best-of-the-year lists all around the jazz world, but being named one of eMusic’s 60 Best Albums of 2009 is a testimony to Argue’s ability to not only integrate different styles and genres into his sound, but also to develop an audience for creative big band music well beyond jazz aficionados.

“Critics are raving because the innovations are organic and synthesized rather than slapdash,” writes the uncredited reviewer. “I hear nods to the smooth textural vamps and odd time signatures of Steve Reich, the dynamism and harmonies of Gil Evans, the flowing lyricism of Maria Schneider, the gusty, cavernous blowouts of Christian Scott, the shamble of Tortoise and the jazz-rock of Charlie Hunter. Or not. When there are that many citations (and other reviewers have their own comparisons), it becomes clear that most of Argue’s ideas are homespun. New music—what a concept.”


Darcy James Argue On The Jazz Session

December 11, 2009


Composer Darcy James Argue is featured on the new December 11th episode of The Jazz Session with Jason Crane, who summarizes the show below.

Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records, 2009), the debut CD from composer Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, is one of the most talked-about records of the year. In this interview, Argue reveals why he chose to write modern music using a big band as his musical vehicle; how he turned a simple blog into a social media juggernaut; and why the last thing he wants to be is nostalgic about music.”


Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society To Perform Twice During 2010 APAP Conference

December 8, 2009

Photo by Chad Batka for The New York Times

Composer Darcy James Argue and his acclaimed ensemble, Secret Society, will perform on back-to-back nights in early January during the 2010 Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference in New York. On Friday, January 8th at 6:20 p.m., the group will play a short set at Le Poisson Rouge as part of the 2010 NYC Winter JazzFest. The following night at The Jazz Gallery, the band will play two full sets, starting at 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. respectively, and unveil a newly written composition.

“Le Poisson Rouge and The Jazz Gallery are our two favorite venues to play in New York,” Argue explains, “as you can probably tell by the frequency with which we return. They put the music first and treat the artists with basic human decency—qualities that are vanishingly rare, especially in today’s climate. These venues are exceptional in other ways: the Jazz Gallery is one of NYC’s few independent, not-for-profit performance spaces devoted exclusively to jazz, while Le Poisson Rouge is the only club in town where you can listen to a performance of the complete Xenakis string quartets while knocking back a Red Stripe.”

“A year ago,” he continues, “we kicked off The Jazz Gallery’s Large Ensemble Commissions Series. Immediately thereafter we went into the studio to record Infernal Machines. It would appear The Jazz Gallery is an auspicious spot to present new works. I figured we’d best do it again. Also, we are extremely excited to be a part of this year’s Winter JazzFest, which is a rare opportunity to hear sets by established artists like Nicholas Payton and Matt Wilson on the same bill as killing new talent like Mark Guiliana and Chelsea Baratz. The lineup represents a broad spectrum of the most exciting music coming out of the New York jazz scene right now, without getting hung up on a particular scene or sound.”

After slowly developing his sound over the course of the past four years, Argue became one of the most talked about new voices of 2009 thanks to the response to his debut release, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), and the series of performances that followed in New York, Germany, The Netherlands and his native Canada. The new decade begins where the last one left off, with two notable January performances in New York followed by upcoming dates in Boston and beyond. In addition to the new piece being premiered at The Jazz Gallery, Argue will also be working on a new composition for the new music ensemble, Newspeak, thanks to a grant from the American Composers Forum’s Jerome Composers Commissioning Program.


Exclaim!’s Year in Review: Darcy James Argue

November 25, 2009

Exclaim!‘s December issue features its annual Year In Review in which each contributor writes about one release “that excited them most this year.”

David Ryshpan, contributor to the magazine’s Destination Out section, chose Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records).

“Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based Argue has expanded the big band vocabulary,” he writes. “A protégé of masters Bob Brookmeyer and Maria Schneider, he bridges the gaps between new classical, indie rock and jazz. Argue’s masterful use of mutes and woodwind doubles, his harmonic sophistication, attention to form, and a secret weapon in guitarist Sebastian Noelle, place Infernal Machines at the forefront of 21st century jazz.”