Spring Arts Guide 2013

Darcy James Argue May 18 at Atlas Performing Arts Center

When Darcy James Argue’s 18-piece big band Secret Society took the jazz world by storm in 2009, Argue presented a manifesto that slapped conventional wisdom in the face. “Our problem is not getting the kids to turn out for our shows—the kids are frequently the only people who turn out,” the bandleader and composer said. “Our problem is getting everyone else to take a break from fetishizing the jazz of 50 years ago and pay attention to what’s happening right now.” At the time, Secret Society’s debut disc, Infernal Machines, had already helped establish a new place in hipsterdom for the jazz big band (or “steampunk big band,” as Argue calls his ensemble). It was a breathtakingly original recording, made with snarling guitar, exotic instruments, feverish syncopation, and unique ensemble voicings—like Radiohead with a horn section. Argue’s second project with Secret Society is similarly ambitious: an hourlong suite, “Brooklyn Babylon,” with a Fritz Lang premise, an animation video, and live painting done onstage by Croatian comic artist Daniel Žeželj. This is jazz for the post-postmodern era. 8 p.m. $15–$30.

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