The Kennedy Center

Secret Society



Biography

Darcy James Argue is one of today’s most talked-about jazz musicians thanks to the phenomenal critical response to Infernal Machines, his debut recording featuring his 18-piece big band Secret Society. The record was included on more than 70 “Best-of-the Year” lists and won “Best Debut” honors in the 2009 Village Voice Jazz Critics’ Poll. Argue and Secret Society topped three categories in the 2010 DownBeat Critics’ Poll (“Rising Star, Big Band;” “Rising Star, Composer;” and “Rising Star, Arranger”) and were the recipients of two 2010 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards (Large Ensemble of the Year and Up & Coming Artist of the Year). The group has played high-profile concerts in New York and other US cities, as well as in Europe.
 
A native of Vancouver and former member of the Montreal jazz scene, Argue moved to Brooklyn in 2003 after earning a master’s degree in Boston while studying with legendary composer and arranger Bob Brookmeyer. He has also studied with Lee Hyla, Randall Woolf, Maria Schneider, and John Hollenbeck. His awards include the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop Charlie Parker Composition Prize and the SOCAN/CAJE Phil Nimmons Emerging Composer Award.  He has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, the American Music Center, Meet The Composer, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Canada Council for the Arts, among others
 
Formed in 2005, Secret Society evokes an alternate musical history in which the dance orchestras that ruled the Swing Era never went extinct, but remained a popular and vital part of the evolving musical landscape. Adopting a steampunk-inspired attitude towards the traditional big band, Argue refashions this well-worn instrumentation into a cutting-edge ensemble. The band’s first studio recording, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records) takes its name from a John Philip Sousa quote about the dangers of music technology. Secret Society's London Jazz Festival debut was declared “a contender for gig of the year” in The Guardian, and they performed at the famed Moers Festival in Germany. Secret Society was the first group to be announced for George Wein’s 2010 Newport Jazz Festival.
Darcy James Argue