Wall Street Journal on the New Languages Festival

Gearing up for tomorrow’s New Languages Festival kickoff evening, the Wall Street Journal ran a great piece in today’s paper:

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Here are the paragraphs with mentions of The Respect Sextet:

New Languages kicks off with a performance by the Respect Sextet, a group that has created one of the most compelling recordings of the year, “Sirius Respect: The Music of Sun Ra and Stockhausen” (Avant).

Trumpeter Eli Asher, 30, said that the work of both composers—one a pioneer of avant-garde jazz and the other a key innovator in contemporary classical music—was informed by “mysticism, astrology, a self-constructed cosmology, intertwining compositional languages, and a total absorption into their personal worlds.” In addition, both were early advocates of the synthesizer. There are many pieces by Sun Ra, a Chicago bandleader, that can be easily adapted to jazz sextet, but far fewer of Stockhausen’s works have such flexibility. The group leaned heavily on the German composer’s “Zodiac Suite.” The recording’s 13 tunes are presented with care and unity. By the final track, Mr. Stockhausen’s “Capricorn” and Sun Ra’s great “Saturn” mesh perfectly.

The band began eight years ago in Rochester, N.Y., where the musicians attended the Eastman School of Music, and it continued in New York, where at one point four members temped for Bear Stearns. “At one point there were 15 or so Eastman graduates working at Bear Stearns,” said saxophonist Josh Rutner, 28, who now works at the private equity firm (and Bear Stearns spinoff) Irving Place Capital. “Every lunch break was a class reunion.”
The sextet plays with a stellar blend of precision and humor, which Mr. Rutner attributes to the influence of the new Dutch Swing groups, such as the ICP Orchestra. “They gave us great insight into how serious music could also be hilarious,” he said.

Read the full article online here.

Hope to see you all tomorrow night!

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