More Year-End Lists: Darcy James Argue

December 28, 2009

We were away much of last week dreaming of dancing sugar plums and rockin’ around the Christmas tree, but the year-end lists featuring Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) continued to flow as freely as egg nog in our rare but enjoyable absence.

Here’s a quick summary to get you caught up:

1. The AMN Top 5 of 2009 at AvantMusicNews.com

2. Michael J. West’s Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2009 in the Washington City Paper

3. Jacob Teichroew’s Best Jazz Albums of 2009 at jazz.about.com

“Argue’s pieces are haunting and eruptive, and his dextrous band is capable of thrilling maneuvers.”

4. Peter Hum’s 10 Best Jazz CDs of the 2000’s at Jazzblog.ca

“Years in the making, this disc by the Vancouver-raised, New York-based composer and bandleader points the way ahead for big bands. Argue’s music is fresh and intoxicating, unfurling dramatic surprises and conventional beauties while tapping indie rock and ambient music for references.”

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Washington City Paper: Dragon’s Head Worth Your Attention

January 2, 2009

The Washington City Paper‘s Michael J. West spotlights five avant-garde jazz albums released in 2008 that he feels “deserve your attention” in his December 31st entry in the publication’s blog, Black Plastic Bag.   

Number three on his list is guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson’s Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records).

West, who penned a feature on Ms. Halvorson for the December issue of JazzTimes, writes, “The guitarist leads a Hendrix-inspired trio featuring bassist John Hebert and drummer Ches Smith through a set of her own intuitively designed compositions. Between her unconventional approach to structure and her thorny guitar style, however, it’s impossible to tell where composition ends and improv begins, and vice versa; the effect is not unlike watching a cat unfurl a ball of yarn, with no telling which directions the string might end up going but, ultimately, a layout of distinct but unusual patterns.”