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Joshua Redman with Aaron Parks, Matt Penman, and Eric Harland: James Farm
May 25-May 27, 2012
virtuosic jazz supergroup
Fri, May 25
8pm $26 & 10pm $26 / $13 students
Sat, May 26
8pm $30 & 10pm $30
Sun, May 27
7pm $26 & 9pm $26
Formed in 2009, James Farm is an acoustic jazz quartet consisting of saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. These four free-thinking musicians all individually hold a stake in the future of jazz, and together form a group with a new take on song-based improvisation, a group that invites you to share in the navigation of their own musical future.
From their first gig at the Montreal Jazz Festival they have been writing and honing music that carries strong melodies and buoyant grooves, but defies facile comparisons. They strive, in their own words “to make new musical connections for the times we live in, and new beats for what now surrounds us.” This band wants to move you, and only asks for an open mind.
In August 2010, after a year of touring during which the band’s many compositions got explored, re-imagined and cast out, James Farm went into the studio for four days of intense recording. The result is a unique accomplishment. From the mysterious first bars of the opener, “Coax,” you can tell this is not going to be your garden-variety jazz recording. The tunes are skillfully crafted, with unusual and unexpected forms, and the influences borrow from a wide musical palate, with grooves, textures and atmospheres suggestive of rock, ambient or electronic music. “Polliwog” starts with a gut-bucket pulse and ends in an ethereal resting place. “Bijou” calls to mind life in a simpler time. And “Chronos” kindles with determined fire and is a true musical journey, albeit through other-worldly waters. Indeed this band creates, above all, singular moods from its balance of free, in-the-moment dialogue, and attention to the architecture and larger narrative of its tunes.
These four virtuoso instrumentalists are committed to finding new ways to balance their work as composers with the vitality of improvisation, melding the two into a brand of storytelling uniquely their own. They are also committed to the concept of the Band, where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Penman explains, “There’s an artistic strength in being four equal members of a group that we’re enjoying exploring. Put our four heads together and you get a lot of ideas … some of them cosmic, some of them nuts, but it’s all part of the process.”