Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society Throws It Down At The Newport Jazz Festival (Newport 2010 Recap, Part 2 of 6)

Posted by Maria Miaoulis in Recaps & Reviews

August 16th, 2010   Comments Off on Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society Throws It Down At The Newport Jazz Festival (Newport 2010 Recap, Part 2 of 6)

Newport 2010 (104)

Conductor Darcy James Argue leads the Secret Society in one of several thrilling compositions performed at the 2010 Newport Jazz Festival.

After managing not to fall overboard during our water taxi ride to Fort Adams State Park, D.A. and I headed straight for Harbor Stage to grab close-up seats for the morning’s most anticipated set – Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.

We pretended he was waving at us during sound check, even though he was really trying to get the technician’s attention. (But hey, one can dream right?) In any case, the place was buzzing by the time the show began. The Canadian jazz composer (turned NYC native) and the members of his 18 piece steampunk big band humbly took the stage after Darcy was introduced as “the most talked-about artist in the genre today thanks to his debut album Infernal Machines.” With that, he led them into their first song, “Transit.”

Listening to a Darcy James composition is unlike any other musical experience. This probably seems a tad presumptuous of me to say, but there’s really no other way to describe it. Each track takes you on a nonlinear journey – one minute you’re tapping your foot to smooth jazz, the next you’re head banging to an alternative rock rhythm. He expertly blends a hodgepodge of styles that in reality don’t go together. And yet it magically makes sense even if you don’t understand how.

They went on to perform several more cuts from Infernal Machines including “Zeno” and “Obsidian Flow.” Darcy James had even written a special piece titled “Blow Out Prevention” which he planned to present with legend Bob Brookmeyer, his mentor. However, Brookmeyer couldn’t be there due to illness, so Argue and the Secret Society debuted it without him.

The highlight was undoubtedly their performance of “Phobos.” The beginning instrumentals can best be described as a cross between alien and jungle predator soundtracks. You couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the unique sci-fi sounds emanating from “the affected space cajon” played by drummer Jon Wikan. Then, without realizing you transitioned into jazz for a bit, and all of a sudden were hit with a hard rock section. Needless to say, everyone was left stunned as the number closed.

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society truly put on a spell-binding performance. For those who missed this phenomenal act or are only just learning about Darcy James and his band now, check out his website for more information.

Check out a video of Darcy James Argue & Secret Society performing “Transit” at the Newport Jazz Festival 2010:

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