Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
“For a wholly original take on big band’s past, present and future, look to Darcy James Argue,” so says Newsweek Magazine. The Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader has toured the world over with his 18-piece ensemble, Secret Society, garnering countless awards and nominations while reimagining what a 21st-century big band can sound like. His upcoming fourth album with Secret Society, Dynamic Maximum Tension, is named after the three words that inventor and futurist Buckminster Fuller combined to form his personal brand: “Dymaxion” — a term reflecting Bucky’s desire to get the most out of his materials, the utopian vision of his designs, and his quest to improve the pattern of daily life. Argue finds optimism and creative renewal in Bucky’s prescience as an early proponent of renewables like wind and wave power, and in his timelessly futuristic designs inspired by the geometry of the natural world.
In addition to Fuller, the music on Dynamic Maximum Tension pays tribute to other mid-20th century innovators and innovations, including composer-bandleader Duke Ellington, cryptographer Alan Turing, and actress- playwright-screenwriter Mae West, among others. This album looks for inspiration in the artistry, inventiveness, and resourcefulness that emerged from an age where the future seemed brighter than it does now.
Avenging Angels // Portraits of Female Assassins
Loaded up the gun
Put the red dress on
Lured ’em into the woods
What would you have done?
Hannie Schaft was nineteen years old when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. As she watched the French Revolution spiral inexorably towards terror, twenty-four year-old. Charlotte Corday believed one man to be responsible: the inflammatory Jacobin politician and publisher Jean-Paul Marat. Daughter of a freed slave, Marcia Aurelia Ceionia Demetrias became the favored mistress of one of the most notorious Roman emperors of all time, Commodus.
These are some of the women whose stories come to life in Avenging Angels, an evening-length set of songs co-created by singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Becca Stevens and composer/conductor Darcy James Argue, arranged by Argue for large jazz ensemble. With lyrics inspired by primary historical sources, the songs explore how women throughout history have exploited cultural assumptions about female weakness to position themselves to deal death. Avenging Angels explores the complex and varied motivations of each assassin, highlighting the fascinating true stories of women willing to kill — and to die — for their ideals.