Imagine if Sun Ra, Steve Reich and Sonic Youth met up on the Silk Road . . . .
It might sound like the start to a bizarre joke, but this is in fact the creative impetus behind Brian Boyes’ new 20-piece musical project, The Saturn People’s Sound Collective.
Sending shockwaves through the Vermont music community, Boyes’ ensemble was a major headliner at the 2013 Discover Jazz Festival, the sole recipient of Goddard College’s 2012 Local Spotlight, and a recipient of a Vermont Community Foundation Arts Endowment grant.
Boyes’ ambitious new project, entitled The Saturn People’s Sound Collective is a 20-piece ensemble that draws on the creative big band influences of Sun Ra, John Hollenbeck, and Darcy James Argue to realize a 21st century nu-world sound that combines jazz, minimalist music, post-rock long-form melodic sensibilities and global music.
“I know that it’s a bit of a mouthful,” comments Boyes, “But at the end of the day, it’s really just about writing and playing some compelling and joyful music . . . Ideally I am striving to create challenging listening music that isn’t a challenge to listen to.”
The Vermont composer, trumpeter and educator has been dreaming up this ensemble for the past two years. “In the winter of 2010 I was conducting an all-star high school jazz ensemble and I decided to re-arrange some of my older jazz septet compositions for the big band setting. It was then that I had a brief glimpse into the potential of my work for a large jazz ensemble. Specifically, I was experimenting with the sonic potential of my jazz writing when mixed with elements of Steve Reich’s minimalism, jazz improvisation and Eastern tonal frameworks.”
Those familiar with the work of Brian Boyes, however, know that he is no stranger when it comes to working with large ensembles; his most recent work including Movement of the People: The Fela Kuti Project, The Big Bang Bhangra Brass Band, not to mention his history with the 10-piece acid jazz sensation, viperHouse.
Says Dan Bolles of Seven Days of the group’s Discover Jazz Festival performance, “Mind blowing radness . . . The Saturn People’s set at The FlynnSpace on Tuesday was simply transcendent, not merely a local highlight, but a festival topper, period.”