It has been too long since we checked to see what Darcy James Argue and his band of young New Yorkers—The Secret Society—have been up to. When we first took notice of Argue and his crew, they were indeed still pretty much a secret. Since then, the band has won awards in several polls. Argue, a Canadian who transplanted from Vancouver to New York, has been singled out for his compositions and arrangements. College and high school jazz and stage bands interested in performing music of their own generation adopt many of his charts.
Of Argue’s and graphic novelist Danijel Zezelj’s ambitious multi-media project Brooklyn Bablyon, Ben Ratliff of The New York Times wrote,
It is heavily planned, built of thick shadows and big-band polyphony, and it took both composer and artist most of a year to create.
This trailer gives you an idea of the work’s complexity and scale.
As for Argue’s more “conventional” big band work, here is the Secrety Society’s performance of his “Transit” in a concert at Washington, DC’s, Kennedy Center. The trumpet soloist is David Smith. A list of the band members follows the video.
Trumpets: Seneca Black, Tom Goehring, Matt Holman , Nadje Noordhuis, David Smith.
Trombones: Noah Bless, Tim Sessions, Kevin Moehringer, Jennifer Wharton.
Guitar: Sebastian Noelle.
Piano and keyboard: Red Wierenga.
Bass: Matt Clohesy.
Drums: Jon Wikan.
Those are members of what what not so long ago was thought of as the Brooklyn and downtown New York underground. They have surfaced as some of the most notable new jazz players of the decade.