Thursday, May 7, 2009

Darius Jones @ Roulette 4/25/09

I'm very glad I went to this. All the music of the night was composed by Darius Jones. He seems like a very sweet person. The 2nd set debuted his new trio, and they are about to record. He said all the songs for that trio were about his family. Then he thanked his parents, who were in the audience. They seemed sweet as well. He said he won an award, and I guess some or all of this music was commissioned as a result of that.

The first ensemble is called The Elizabeth Caroline Unit. All the pieces had a vocalist. There were 2, but the listing says 3. They both have high voices. They were both extremely talented and definitely in the same caliber as the musicians. I still could have done without them. I definitely preferred Sunny Kim to Sarah Dyson. I'm sure many would enjoy Sarah, her voice was just too high-pitched for me. However, later I reflected on how I enjoy the high notes on instruments and I love the squeaks and squawks that sometimes come out of them. I'm just prejudiced against high vocals.

The music was excellent, and the vocals didn't bother me or infringe on my listening enjoyment. That happens when the voice is bad.

The first piece had the most instruments, 2 guitars, Jason Ajemian on bass, Alex Waterman on cello (I love those high notes), violin, trombone and Ches Smith. Ches played drums, triangle, glockenspiel, and a very interesting rectangular instrument I forgot to get a better look at during the set change. Sarah Dyson was on vocals.

Next was a piece with Sunny Kim, Adam Lane on bass and Alex Waterman. It was beautiful. I was loving the strings.

After that, Sunny Kim stayed up with Adam Lane, a guitar, and Ches Smith. This was the first song with words, and is Darius' attempt at a pop song, meaning more structure.

The rest had the first singer again, I think 2 more songs. I can't quite remember much. I know Darius played sax and the trombone came back up for one.

Then there was an intermission while they did a set change. We got this incredible trio with Darius, Cooper-Moore, and Bob Moses on drums. Incredible. I loved Cooper-Moore on piano. He moved on to his awesome one string bass of his own creation. I love this trio and considered going to Zeb the next night to see it again with 2 sets. I just couldn't get over there on Sun.

That was a very impressive show and I'm happy with my choice for the evening.

Here's the listing:

The Elizabeth Caroline Unit
Sunny Kim: Vocalist, Sarah Dyson: Vocalist, Lola Danza: Vocalist, Ben Gerstein: Trombone, Darius Jones: Alto Sax, Adam Lane: Bass, Jason Ajemian: Bass, Charlie Looker: Guitar, Chris Welcome: Guitar, Alex Waterman: Cello, Caley Monahon: Violin, Ches Smith: Drums/Percussion

Darius Jones Trio w/ Cooper-Moore and Bob Moses
Bob Moses: Drums, Cooper-Moore: Piano and Diddly-Bo, Darius Jones: Alto,

The Elizabeth Caroline Unit is Darius Jones' compositions for chamber ensemble and voice. This music is a vehicle for Jones to explore his love of the human voice and the unlimited possibilities with it. Darius will use three different vocalist from different musical traditions. The ensembles will vary from piece to piece. The music is about love, hope, and connection. Plus the constant struggle that we have with trying to find those things in our lives.

Darius Jones Trio w/ Cooper-Moore and Bob Moses
This music is about growing up in the church in the south. It is about the celebration of the art prayer which is apart of every spiritual philosophy. Learning spiritual secrets and wisdom from those who have walked before us is a strong tradition in the south. Come see this trio conjure up spirits.

Tonights concert is made possible with funding by the Van Lier Fellowship.

Darius Jones, is an alto saxophonist, composer, and producer. He joined the New York music community in 2005, after living and studying in Richmond, Va. Darius comes from a diverse musical background that has lead to his unique, alternative, and soulful approach to music. Jones has composed and performed in a wide variety of areas such as electro-acoustic music, chamber ensembles, contemporary jazz groups, free jazz groups, modern dance performances, and multi-media events. Darius enjoys playing with a steady group of artists and improvisers. The current bands Jones works with are the Cooper-Moore Trio, Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys, Nioka Workman’s House Arrest Band, William Hooker’s Bliss Quartet, Trevor Dunn’s Proof Readers, and Period. In New York, Darius has produced records for Korean jazz vocalist Sunny Kim and country-folk artist Mary Bragg. Jones has performed in Italy, France, U.S. and Canada. Jones has a band with Travis LaPlante, Ben Greenberg, and Jason Nazary called Little Women, which recently went on a national tour to promote the release of their first record “Teeth” on Sockets ( and Gilgongo Records (

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