06 August 2013

Sensory (dys)function

JazzTimes: Darcy James Argue’s ‘Brooklyn Babylon’ — A musical investigation of urban dysfunction

Jeff Tamarkin

Even within BAMcafé, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s performance space that presents a wide variety of artists on weekend evenings for free, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society seems something of an unorthodox booking. With his back to the audience, the 38-year-old Argue conducts his 18-piece ensemble alternating between a euphoric composure and animated fervor, gesticulating with his arms, swaying on his feet, contorting and relaxing his expressions as he puts his charges—all manner of brass and woodwinds, drums and percussion, guitars, piano and the occasional melodica—through their paces. As the music unfurls, filling the room with its largeness, it doesn’t take long for an SRO crowd to fill the space as well.

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