Airs Tuesday, April 2 at 9 p.m. The composer Darcy James Argue has steadily been rescuing the big band from the dustbin of anachronism through a combination of enormously open ears and a gigantic well of patience. But it's paying off: After the release of his debut album Infernal Machines, the greatness of the Secret Society became an open secret, and his "co-conspirators" have now recorded a much-anticipated sophomore album. Eighteen of them give us a taste, including a peek at the Brooklyn Babylon project, originally designed for live music and live painting.
Airs Tuesday, March 26 at 9 p.m. The tenor saxophonist John Ellis is a commanding instrumentalist with a most gorgeous, carmelized tone. And though he now lives in New York, his band gives away the fact that he learned an awful lot in New Orleans. A chunk of Double-Wide lives there — notably, Matt Perrine (sousaphone) and Jason Marsalis (drums) — and the Crescent City's carnivalesque and high-stepping timbres are refracted through Ellis' tunes. You can take the boy out of the South, but you can't take the South out of his musical vision. Joining him also are Gary Versace on organ and accordion and Alan Ferber on trombone.
Airs Tuesday, March 19 at 9 p.m. Like his countryman Pedrito Martinez, drummer Dafnis Prieto came over from Cuba around the turn of the century — promptly placing every rhythm section in New York City on notice. His next-level understanding of the clave, combined with his seeming willingness to try anything that grooves, led to his nomination as a MacArthur Fellow last year. That cast of mind powering a sextet with horns will prove volatile, as it did on his 2008 album Taking The Soul For A Walk. On stage, it's liable to cause bug-eyed amazement if onlookers aren't careful. His band features Peter Apfelbaum on saxophone, Felipe Lamoglia on saxophone, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Manuel Valera on piano, and Yunior Terry on bass.