Over at SpiderMonkey Stories, Taylor Ho Bynum has a first-person report from the Anthony Braxton run at the Iridium (which I couldn't make, dammit), talks about his studio recording with Jason Kao Hwang's quartet, and writes up our Jazz Gallery hit:
After the first night of recording, I went around the corner from the Soho recording studio and caught the second set of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at the Jazz Gallery. (This is the “secret” themed blog post.) While I’ve of course enjoyed Darcy’s blog, this was the first time I had a chance to see the band live, and I was impressed. First of all, it’s just so good to hear a full 18-piece big band in an acoustic space! Darcy makes great use of the orchestral potential, adeptly mixing mutes in the brass section and incorporating multi-instrumentalism in the reeds, with musicians switching between various saxes and clarinets and flutes, for a rich palette of timbres. The music was very tightly composed, with echoes of both Reichian minimalism and post-Brookmeyer harmonic lushness. There was real compositional clarity, every piece had a distinct identity and dealt with a different conceptual question. I also thought it was interesting that each piece had only one designated soloist, almost like mini-concertos for improvisers; it was reminiscent of Gil Evans’ work with Miles, but with the soloist chair being passed around the orchestra. I was too tired to stick around after the show to meet my fellow-blogger in person, but I’m very glad I made it out, evocative and rewarding music.
Save the date: the CD release gig for Taylor's new album The Middle Picture will be at The Jazz Gallery on Friday, April 27. Readers of his blog get a secret discount -- consult SpiderMonkey Stories for details.