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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November Staff Pick: Brooklyn Babylon

Photo: Brooklyn Babylon, by James Matthew Daniel

This month's pick: Brooklyn Babylon (Nov 9—12)
Picked by: Ross Marshall, Marketing Projects Assistant

1. Why Brooklyn Babylon?When I first browsed this year’s Next Wave Festival season line-up, Brooklyn Babylon was the show that I was immediately the most excited about. Darcy James Argue is integral to the New York jazz scene, which, collectively, is making a strong case that jazz is still alive and tremendously exciting. But thoroughly contemporary big band music paired with animation and live painting in support of an original story about futuristic Brooklyn? That really gets me going.

Photo: Brooklyn Babylon, by James Matthew
2. What makes it unique?
When was the last time you saw someone painting on an enormous canvas in front of an audience? Zezelj’s work is bold and visceral, and live painting is perhaps the most suitable complement to live contemporary jazz. It’s a match made in heaven.

3. You might like this if you liked:
Imaginary City (So Percussion) and The Long Count (Bryce & Aaron Dessner), both at BAM in 2009; Ecstatic Music Festival artists like Clogs, Alarm Will Sound, Owen Pallett, Shara Worden, Nico Muhly, and others; Undead Jazz Fest and Winter Jazz Fest artists

4. Guilty-pleasure reason for seeing the show:
Infernal Machines by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society was nominated for a Grammy for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album. Also, Darcy once wrote a piece that features an electrified cajón and, as questionable as that may be to Latin percussionists and jazz purists alike, it sounds incredible. I want to hear more of that.

5. Final words:
Perhaps the most important element of this collaboration is the fact that both of these Brooklyn-based artists are rapidly emerging leaders in their respective scenes, and they will be on BAM’s stage together with this staggeringly ambitious work. I wouldn’t miss this show if I were you!

Brooklyn Babylon runs from Nov 9—12 at the BAM Harvey Theater.

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