The Kennedy Center

New Tricks


New Tricks is firmly rooted in post-bop jazz traditions, yet brings new twists to acoustic straight-ahead jazz conventions with their use of challenging rhythmic and harmonic devices. The group was formed five years ago when four members of the celebrated Cecil’s Big Band at Cecil’s Jazz Club and Restaurant in West Orange, New Jersey decided to get together for jam sessions in the basement of one member’s house. The members were saxophonist Mike Lee, trumpeter Ted Chubb, bassist Kellen Harrison, and drummer Shawn Baltazor, and it was during those early jam sessions that the foursome decided to call themselves New Tricks.

Although the instrumentation of New Tricks is similar to that of Ornette Coleman’s classic quartet— saxophone, trumpet, bass, and drums, with no piano or guitar supplying chords—New Tricks’ tunes, unlike most of Coleman’s, are constructed with chord changes as their foundations. Following the release of New Tricks’ self-titled debut CD in the summer of 2009, the quartet toured for a week in Ohio. In the spring of 2010, the group toured for three weeks in the Midwest and two in California. During these tours, New Tricks focused on nine new tunes that were recorded immediately upon returning home and comprise Alternate Side, New Tricks’ brilliant sophomore CD released in April 2011.
New Tricks