I thrilled to announce that Elder Ones will be releasing our debut album HOLY SCIENCE on Northern Spy Records, November 11th. You can pre-order the record now on their site! The incredible artwork was done by one of my best friends and the most talented artist I know, Justin Hopkins. You can preview the track "Dvapara Yuga (For Eric Garner) on our Bandcamp page!
We also received an amazing write-up of the record by Ben Ratliff in the New York Times, which you can read HERE.
We are touring November 2-11, so check out the dates and see if we'll be rolling through your town. The tour will culminate in our record release show on 11/12 at Park Church Co-op, opening for Rhys Chatham and Oneida. It is a triple record release, with Simon Hanes' Tredici Bacci on the bill as well!
Excited to share this music with you!
Hello to my throngs of rabid experimental music fans.
HOUSTON, we have a record. After an amazing recording residency at EMPAC, Elder Ones has an insane record, mixed and mastered by the one and only Weasel Walter. Lookout for a November 2016 release!
I have a few exciting collaborations coming up in June! The first of the month I'll be playing free with Daniel Carter, Che Chen and Sue Garner. We've been meeting regularly for sessions this year, and they've been so magical. I'm singing in the wonderful guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson's new band Code Girl at the Jazz Gallery on June 10 and 11. The quintet is Mary on guitar and compositions, Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Michael Formanek on bass, Tomas Fujiwara on drums and me on vocals! I'm incredibly excited about this band, and we'll be recording an album later this year. On June 14th I'll premiere a new vocal work by Lea Bertucci for her residency at Issue Project Room with Max Alper and Ka Baird. I'm also psyched to be working with my old friend and collaborator Pat Spadine and the Ashcan Orchestra for his Emerging Artist Commission at Roulette on June 23rd.
I'll be curating my first show at Issue Project Room on June 18th. The concert is part of an ongoing series called Tongues, presenting traditional music and experimental music in a single concert. The show will feature a solo viola set by Mat Maneri and a traditional South Indian Carnatic trio with Ashvin Bhogendra on voice, Anjna Swaminathan on violin and Rajna Swaminathan on mrudangam (barrel drum).
See you in the summertimes!
After a long hiatus, with our beloved drummer Max Jaffe recovering from a wrist injury, Elder Ones is finally back! We haven't played since premiering my piece Mother Tongues at Roulette back in June, and if you didn't make it to that now is your chance to hear these tunes!
Saturday November 14th, 8pm @ New Revolution Arts, Bushwick Brooklyn w/Ava Mendoza and Flin Van Hemmen Trio
Tuesday November 17th, 8:30pm @ Memorial Chapel, Wesleyan University w/Bryan Eubanks
Wednesday November 18th, 8:30pm @ Bennington College, Student Center w/Hark + Heed
Thursday November 19th, 8pm @ The Wheelhouse (4 Court Sq), Greenfield MA w/Travis LaPlante solo, Jake Meginsky
Friday November 20th, 8pm (My birthday!) @ Trans-Pecos, Ridgewood Queens w/Chaser (members of Cellular Chaos, Child Abuse, Nebadon and Unnatural Ways)
Saturday November 21st, 8pm w/Keir Neuringer+Moor Mother Goddess and Eric Ruin's Ominous Cloud Ensemble @ Aux Performance Space at Vox Populi Gallery
After some fun travels in Italy eating lots of pizza and seeing Evan Parker, Paul Lytton and Barry Guy (oh my!) play with my man Peter Evans, summer is winding to a close. That's ok though, because I wasn't quite busy enough and I'm ready to hit the pavement. I'm not a great relaxer or vacationer, so the crisp fall air and the running all over NYC is just what the doctor ordered.
I'm digging into a whole host of stuff. While my incredible drummer Max Jaffe is on hiatus to let his wrists heal, I'm turning focus away from the band for a bit and towards collaborative projects and solo exploration. I'm really honored to be playing on Peter Evans' residency at The Stone! I'll join him along with cellist Leila Bordeuil and bassist Brandon Lopez for a special one-off set. My love and respect for Peter and his music is off the charts! It's going to be a fun night. This weekend at BAM I get to channel June Tyson as the Space Goddess with the Eco-Music Big Band, in the late composer Fred Ho's incomplete Sun Ra opera, with a libretto by the great Miles Davis biographer Quincy Throupe. I'm excited to be working with my old pal Charlie Looker and JG Thrilwell on Experiments in Opera: The Travel Agency is on Fire. These new works take William Borough's cut-ups as textual basis. James Ilgenfritz will direct the Anagram Ensemble and the show will be part of his week at The Stone. I'll be playing more little free improv one offs, so stay tuned to so what crazy hi-jinks ensue.
Wow! What a year so far! I am so grateful to my incredible band Elder Ones for an amazing premiere of my piece Mother Tongues Suite at Roulette for the Emerging Artist Commission. The concert was a first for me; an entire evening of music that I wrote with my own band. I've had an amazing journey of collaborative music making for the past many years, but this is unlike anything I've ever done and I intend to continue doing it. The band that I have found in drummer Max Jaffe, bassist Brandon Lopez and Matt Nelson on soprano sax is constantly inspiring and largely responsible for motivating me to follow my vision.
This summer I'll be doing sessions and one-offs with some of my favorite musicians and some new folks I've never played with. In July I'll play Cisco Bradley's New Revolution Arts series with Darius Jones and Social Sundays with Brandon Lopez. Stay tuned for more info!
In June I will finally be presenting Mother Tongues, a composition that will be performed by my band Elder Ones for my Emerging Artist Commission at Roulette. I cannot believe it is a month away! I've been working on these compositions while simultaneous forming this group, and adjusting my writing and recharging my creative psyche by playing with these incredible musicians; Matt Nelson on soprano saxophone, Max Jaffe on drums and Brandon Lopez on bass. We plan to record this year and release our first record sometime in Fall 2015/Spring 2016. It's been a pleasure to work with these guys and I couldn't be more excited to present this work at Roulette.
SAVE THE DATE: June 22nd, 2015 @ Roulette (509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn NY 11217)
Tickets + Info HERE
After a strange and lovely sojourn in Sardinia listening to some incredible musicians (Evan Parker, Peter Evans, Hamid Drake, Louis Maholo and some other insane cats), I'm back in New York and ready to work! This year is a big one for me, with a new band and a commission from the Jerome Foundation and Roulette. I've been composing for the band and we've even been playing out leading up to the big event on June 22nd. In the meantime, I have plenty of other great stuff keeping me very busy.
January is basically Seaven Teares month! We are playing on Friday 1/16 at 10pm as a part of Charlie Looker's much deserved week long residency at The Stone. It's about time this dude got to flex his formidable musical muscle there. We will play again at Trans-Pecos on the 28th with an Early Music guy named Norbert Rodenkirchen from Germany and Peter Evans + Nate Wooley duo. Then we head to Philly for Fire Museum Presents on the 30th! Also singing in a new piece by Ben Vida with Tyondai Braxton at The Kitchen on the 21st!
In February I will slowly unveil more new material for my quartet. My precious drummer Max Jaffe will return from CA where he is hiding for the winter to join us on February 12th at Manhattan Inn! Brandon Lopez on bass, Matt Nelson on soprano sax and Peter Evans' new group House Special.
Looking ahead in the year I've got a trip to Greece to perform with Ben and Ty at the Borderline Festival, and a Robert Ashley filled Spring performing CRASH at Roulette. It's gonna be a busy year, but you know I wouldn't have it any other way.
Check out some new tunes on the audio/video page!
I'm hoping to organize a fundraising event for the Eric Garner family fund, so stay tuned...#blacklivesstillmatter
I am so proud and excited to announce that I am one of the Jerome Foundation's Emerging Artist Commission through one of my favorite venues, Roulette! What a pleasure to get a call from a true blue old school guy like Jim Staley, and what's more, the other grantees are some of the finest people around. My dear friend Dave Ruder is among the brains on the list! Congrats to everyone! I've been quietly putting together a band all summer and feel very pleased with the development of the group. I can't wait to share this music with you all.
Here's the full list of grantees:
Amirtha Kidambi, Ben Stapp, Aaron Burnett, David Ruder, Ha-Yang Kim, Leslie Flanigan, Tyshawn Sorey, Mary Kouyoumdjian and M.V.Carbon.
Well, it's finally here! After years of work, some incredible performances at Roulette and Carnegie Hall, and an epic recording session at Issue Project Room, The Oversoul Manual is born! Last week the Elizabeth-Caroline Unit enjoyed our debut at Carnegie Hall to an incredibly warm and receptive audience. Among the audience were luminaries and heroes of ours including Henry Threadgill, Oliver Lake, Larkin Grimm, Imani Uzuri and of course our incredibly supportive family and friends. A HUGE thanks to everyone who made this possible: Darius Jones, the women of the EC-Unit, Jean Carla-Rodea, Sarah Martin, Kristin Slipp (and Julia Ulehla), Steve Caputo, Kholood Eid, Amadine Pras, Randal Wilcox, Steven Joerg and Aum Fidelity Records!
The Oversoul Manual is available for pre-order now on itunes and through Aum Fidelity Records. It will officially be available October 14th. Get your copy! You can click the album cover to link to Aum's website.
The Oversoul Manual is the long-awaited fourth installment / revelation in Darius Jones’ central, highly acclaimed, and on-going Man’ish Boy epic; it further reveals -- indeed fully features -- the great talents of Jones as composer & arranger, with originality, conceptual richness and deep emotive power to the fore. An a cappella work comprised of 15 pieces performed by his vocal quartet, The Elizabeth-Caroline Unit (featuring the great vocal talents of its devoted members Amirtha Kidambi, Sarah Martin, Jean-Carla Rodea, and Kristin Slipp), it utilizes a heretofore unheard (by Earthlings) sacred language of sound / composition used in the alien birthing ritual of a new being.
The Oversoul Manual is both an elemental / genesis part of Jones’ Mani’sh Boy mythology and a fully illuminated / radical expression of his profound love for the human voice, which remains at the foundation of Darius’ singularly potent creative life. The voice was his first instrument; it was his gateway into music. He grew up singing hymns and duets with his sister as a young boy, later becoming gospel choir director at his church in Virginia as a young man. Darius’ intent with this work was to manifest an experience of great purity, communicative potency, and cleansing joy. And once again, he has succeeded magnificently.
Essential words by Darius Jones, from the libretto:
The Elizabeth-Caroline Unit are the proud mothers of a son called Man’ish Boy. On the planet Or’gen, having a child is done with the spiritual agreement of three or more humanoids, called a Unit. The Oversoul Manual is a sacred text meant to guide a Unit towards the required connection that will manifest their child. For this connection to reach the level of power necessary to create another soul, the Unit must perform these fifteen songs, which gives each mother the opportunity to impart her wisdom, experience, and deepest desires for the child. The act of singing generates an intense spiritual connection that culminates in the creation of a new being. This birthing ritual can take years for some Units. The creation of Man’ish Boy took seven.
The Oversoul Manual is written in an ancient language, spoken or sung only for the most sacred rituals. This ancient language is called “oe∫” and is considered to be an empathic language by the Or’genian people. It is believed to have been given to them by their Creator for the direct purpose of developing a stronger awareness about the power of true communication amongst the humanoids of this planet. This language is no longer used in everyday life due to the intensity of the experience one has while in dialogue or in the presence of the language. This is why the Unit separates themselves from their environment to find a secluded sanctuary to perform this birthing ritual. Those who happen to witness this intimate ceremony find themselves feeling the essence of spiritual birth within their being.
The birth of Man’ish Boy was an important event in the history of the Or’genian people. His birth was the awaking of a cultural and spiritual development that this planet had not seen before.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
I'll tell you how...you work with incredible musicians like Darius Jones. I'm three days away from the surreal honor of performing with the Elizabeth-Caroline Unit in one of the finest acoustic halls in the world. As I pinch myself, I have to remember that it wasn't sheer dumb luck that got me there. Of course, there was a lot of hard work involved. We have all been dedicated to working on The Oversoul Manual for over two full years, in a collaborative and immersive way. The group itself is comprised of some of the most badass musicians I know. Jean-Carla Rodea with her fluid creative spirit and raw singular voice, Sarah Dyson an incredibly dramatic and rich soprano and Kristin Slipp, a phenomenal improviser with amazing color. When our powers combine...It feels like some Captain Planet shit! The only way I can describe the sonic elements is by drawing some disparate comparisons to some of the inspirations for the piece; En Vogue, The Supremes, Sun Ra, Stockhausen, Clara Ward, Meredith Monk and vocal traditions and ideas from around the globe. Darius has created a musical-spiritual experience that has changed all of us and I think will change those who listen to it.
You can click on the poster to hear some sample tracks on Aum Fidelity's website and watch the trailer below featuring myself and Kristin Slipp to get a taste of what's in store. We are so proud of this work and can't wait to share this vocal universe with you all.
Peace and Love,