remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows
Following his May 2019 leader debut, Light as a Word—hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “radiant, uncluttered beauty”—saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf takes a major leap forward in his artistic journey with his jazz orchestra release, Assembly of Shadows. Before embarking on the title work, a cinematic five-movement suite that also serves as the ensemble's namesake, the album begins with the standalone composition “Strata” and a kaleidoscopic reimagining of Ornette Coleman’s “Honeymooners.”
The players that populate Assembly of Shadows are among New York City’s finest, including Anna Webber (flute), Philip Dizack (trumpet), Alex Goodman (guitar) and of course Le Boeuf himself on alto/soprano saxophones and woodwinds. “I considered the unique voices of the soloists in the band and how I could highlight them to tell the story behind the music,” says Le Boeuf. And what a story. The suite follows the experience of “a child who runs away into a nearby forest, gets lost, and falls asleep,” Le Boeuf explains. “When she wakes, the shadows of the trees come alive and dance with her. Some are kind, some are scary, but they all teach her something about herself. They guide her home as the moon sets and she wakes up in her own bed, wondering if her adventure happened in reality or if it was a dream.”
Le Boeuf cites his love for jazz composers such as Maria Schneider and Charles Mingus, but also many 20th-century classical influences that trace back to his childhood, such as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Benjamin Britten: “Growing up I traveled to the Vatican to sing Leonard Berstein’s Mass as a boy soprano soloist.” Le Boeuf continues, “I was also obsessed with Mingus and listened to Mingus Ah Um every night for a year while I slept so that I would internalize it. I had no idea at the time how these childhood experiences would shape my musical taste. They continue to serve me as a composer to this day.” In its emotional breadth, contrapuntal intricacy and exacting attention paid to texture and timbre, Le Boeuf’s work on Assembly of Shadows establishes him as a writer of exceptional power and promise. Reflecting on what he’s endeavored with Assembly of Shadows, Le Boeuf concludes: “I’ve always felt that in order to best honor a tradition, one ought to expand upon it. I am simply building on the foundations laid by my favorite composers, and taking the colors and gestures of jazz and 20th-century American classical music in some new directions.”
Light as a word - remy Le Boeuf
Alto Saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf Aims For Intimacy & Restraint on his bandleader debut, Light as a Word (Outside In Music). Out May 24, 2019, the album features longtime friends & collaborators, Walter Smith III (tenor sax), Aaron Parks (piano), Charles Altura (guitar), Matt Brewer (double bass) & Peter Kronreif (drums)
On the dozen tracks comprising Light as a Word, Remy’s highly anticipated debut as sole bandleader, the 32-year-old’s gifts make a gorgeous, powerful argument for center stage. As he explains, Light as a Word is, in essence, the sound of complete creative freedom. “I didn’t need to compromise on this album,” he says. “There was no resistance. I could just do what I do.”
Funnily enough, Remy’s unfettered artistic vision is in fact one of profound musical empathy—a series of sonic dialogues in which a fantastic band digs deeper and deeper into its technical and emotional chemistry. “My musical values are built around communication,” Remy says. “I value conversation, interaction, intimacy, authenticity and the ability to capture emotion. I chose this band specifically because they help me achieve that.” To keep the interplay fresh and intriguing, Remy made a point not to over-compose. (For a musician well versed in large-scale orchestration, that’s no small act of restraint.)
Emotionally direct while also being dictated by the desires of the ensemble, the expression on display runs the gamut—from the thoughtfully explosive performances on “Full Circle”; to “The Melancholy Architecture of Storms,” written with the poet Sara Pirkle Hughes, in which the band whirls in and around the saxophonists’ fervent discourse; to the reflective, wistful edge of “Vista Hermosa,” an homage to the gospel-tinged brilliance of Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band; and “Union,” an exercise in heartrending melody that Remy crafted for his sister’s wedding.
Imaginist - Le Boeuf Brothers + Jack quartet
Based on the “Imaginist” poetry movement, the Le Boeuf Brothers present an amalgamation of fresh improvisatory approaches with an informed compositional aesthetic branching from literature, jazz, and the "new music" community. The hybridized 9-piece chamber ensemble features JACK Quartet, one of New York’s premier string quartets devoted to contemporary classical music, as well as a collection of longtime collaborators including Grammy-nominated tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel (Kneebody), alternating bassists Ben Street and Martin Nevin, and alternating drummers Justin Brown and Peter Kronreif.
Remixed - Le Boeuf Brothers
Featuring new remixes by Remy & Pascal Le Boeuf, David Binney, Tim Lefebvre, "Wolff Parkinson White" (AKA: Jochen Rueckert), Kissy Girls, Lucky Luke & Armand Hirsch. A remix is an alternate version of a recording made by rebalancing, recombining or altering individual tracks. The art of remixing is most common in technology-oriented genres such as electronic music, but can certainly be applied to any recorded music, although it seems more rare in jazz/improvised music. However, there is actually a fertile, underground scene comprised of jazz musicians who are closet DJs. Amongst them are identical twins, the Le Boeuf Brothers, saxophonist/composer Remy and pianist/composer Pascal, whose latest project fuses their New York jazz background with a fresh blend of electronica, trip-hop and drum 'n' bass to create the remix collaboration project, Le Boeuf Brothers Remixed (available April 30 on Nineteen-Eight Records); an intelligent, entertaining, voguish new work, based on their recent album, In Praise of Shadows (Nineteen-Eight Records).
IN PRAISE OF SHADOWS - LE BOEUF BROTHERS
The Le Boeuf twins - saxophonist Remy and keyboardist Pascal - announce an ambitious step in their creative development with their new album, In Praise of Shadows. Joined by Mike Ruby on tenor saxophone, Nir Felder on guitar, Linda Oh on bass, and Henry Cole on drums, as well as the Myth String Quartet, the Le Boeuf brothers have created a work that spans the gulf of modern jazz with indie rock and intelligent electronic music.
House without a door
The brothers' writing and playing is technically skilled, but unlike many other young jazz musicians they also invest both with some genuine emotion and originality. As a result, the entire album has a maturity that is rare in players who are barely into their early twenties. This maturity is assisted by the quality of the album's other instrumentalists, although most of them are also still in their twenties. The compositions give all of the players the opportunity to stretch out and all of them take that opportunity and use it to good effect. Ambrose Akinmusire's trumpet playing is exemplary throughout, especially on "Save Me from Myself," where his raw, at times almost ragged, sound adds an edge to the brothers' more polite tones. Marcus Strickland's soprano saxophone on "Coffee Suite III: Exhaustion" also stands out both in his solo and his duets with Remy's alto.
Personnel: Remy Le Boeuf: alto sax, flutes, bass clarinet; Pascal Le Boeuf: piano, Fender Rhodes; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Marcus Strickland: soprano and tenor saxes; Janelle Reichman: tenor sax; Matt Brewer: bass (3, 4, 6-9, 11,12); Billy Norris: bass (1, 2, 5, 10); Clarence Penn: drums (3, 4, 6-9, 11, 12); Greg Ritchie: drums (1, 2, 5, 10).