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Darcy James Argue, Bandleader
His debut recording, Infernal Machines, featuring his 18-piece big band, Secret Society, made Darcy James Argue one of 2009’s most talked-about jazz musicians. He was given a series of features in jazz and non-jazz publications alike, multiple nominations at the 2009 Jazz Journalists Association Awards, and a presence on more than 70 best-of-the year lists, including Best Debut honors in the prestigious Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll.
Formed in 2005, Secret Society evokes an alternate musical history in which the dance orchestras that ruled the Swing Era never went extinct, but remained a popular and vital part of the evolving musical landscape. Adopting a steampunk-inspired attitude towards the traditional big band, Argue refashions this well-worn instrumentation into a cutting-edge ensemble. The band’s first studio recording takes its name from a John Philip Sousa quote about the dangers of music technology.
Secret Society holds the honor of being the first group to be announced for George Wein’s 2010 Newport Jazz Festival.
A native of Vancouver, and former member of the Montreal jazz scene, Argue moved to Brooklyn in 2003 after earning a Master’s Degree in Boston while studying with legendary composer/arranger Bob Brookmeyer. He has also studied with Lee Hyla, Randall Woolf, Maria Schneider and John Hollenbeck. His awards include the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop Charlie Parker Composition Prize and the SOCAN/CAJE Phil Nimmons Emerging Composer Award.