Jazz.com: The Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza

October 28, 2009
Photo by Chad Batka for The New York Times

Photo by Chad Batka for The New York Times

Tim Wilkins’ wrap-up of last week’s Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza is now posted at Jazz.com.

The event, presented by SearchandRestore.com and hosted by Darcy James Argue, took place at The Bell House on October 19th and featured Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Andrew Durkin’s Industrial Jazz Group and Argue’s Secret Society.

Wilkins’ in-depth analysis includes interviews with SearchandRestore.com’s Adam Schatz and each of the bandleaders, as well as reviews of all three performances and the event’s impromptu finale.

“The evening had many surprises,” he writes, “foremost of which was the level of enthusiasm and imagination in a genre which has always been precarious for financial reasons, even in the best of times.”

In case you missed it, here‘s Nate Chinen’s New York Times review from October 21st.


Darcy James Argue To Host Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza October 19th

August 20, 2009
© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

© 2009 Oliver Heisch/Moers Festival

On Monday, October 19th, SearchAndRestore.com will present Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza, a celebration of innovative big bands organized by acclaimed composer Darcy James Argue, at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Performers will include Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Andrew Durkin’s Industrial Jazz Group and Argue’s own acclaimed 18-piece steampunk big band, Secret Society, which will headline the event. All three bands are led by composers working to reinvigorate the big band format for the 21st Century by integrating influences from a wide variety of other sounds and genres.

“Monday night has long been the traditional big band night in New York,” Argue explains, “so it seemed like it could be fun to take a Monday night at a rock club and use that for a non-traditional big band showcase. The Bjorkestra, the Industrial Jazz Group, and Secret Society represent three very distinct approaches to the project of re-imagining the classic jazz big band. But we’re all trying, in our own way, to engage with stuff that’s outside of the jazz tradition and make it our own, whether it’s by lovingly deconstructing songs like Björk’s ‘Hyperballad’, posing existential questions like ‘Should I Play in the Industrial Jazz Group or in Christina Aguilera’s Band?’ or juxtaposing Bernard Purdie grooves with bulería patterns.”

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 the release of his widely celebrated debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), profiles in publications such as the New York Observer, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice, and three nominations in this year’s Jazz Journalists Association Awards.

The Bell House is located at 149 7th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in the Gowanus area of Park Slope in Brooklyn. Venue information is available at http://www.thebellhouseny.com or by calling (718) 643-6510. Music will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and will be available in advance online through TicketWeb.