Journey Through Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell – Led by Sherman Irby

“Last week we introduced you to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Music of Wayne Shorter and indicated that we’d cover more releases from their label. This installment is a suite of seven movements composed and conducted by the JLCO’s lead alto saxophonist, Sherman Irby, Inferno was performed live in 2012 and captured on this recording. It’s Irby’s interpretation of Dante’s epic 14th-century poem of the same name, which follows the author on his imagined, harrowing journey through the nine circles of Hell. To say it’s incendiary (pardon the reference) completely understates the passion of these performances.

“At the heart of the piece is the horn who plays the central character, the late baritone saxophonist that Irby recalls fondly, ‘I wrote this act for Joe Temperley,’ Irby remarks. ‘He was the band’s elder statesman and musical guide for almost 30 years. It was my honor to feature his beautiful, passionate sound as the voice of the central character, Dante.’ This is not an unusual gesture as bandmate, trombonist Chris Crenshaw says, ‘Sherman cares for his brethren, and he cares about this music, and that goes a long way.’ Besides, featuring his bandmates liberally in solos, (Movement V has six of them for example), this music is intelligent, unique, moody and ultimately swings crazily.” [. . .]    –Jim Hynes, Glide Magazine, February 6, 2020

Contributed by Trey Turney (The Bolles School, ’22)

Wertyo, Tartarus (2019)

“Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Wertyo began as a Vaporwave artist, releasing two EPs in the genre. Together, they were streamed over 1 million times from people all over the world.  Enter Tartarus, Wertyo’s first feature length album. No longer vaporwave, this concept album changes from romantic era classical to avant-garde jazz over the course of its 25 tracks.  Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, the album follows the poem through its three canticheInferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.”    —Wertyo

 

Soweto Kinch’s The Legend of Mike Smith

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The Legend of Mike Smith is a dynamic multi-platform project combining Hip Hop, Dance, Jazz and visual art to explore the permutations of the Seven Deadly sins in modern culture. Written by Soweto Kinch, and directed by Jonzi D it follows the travails of Mike Smith, a young artist as he struggles to navigate his way through a normal day whilst being possessed by other worldly desires and vices. [. . .] The work compares a fantastical world of sin in Catholic texts with a licentious often encouraging attitude towards these things in modern society. Rather than the remote Dantean world of the Inferno, vice often becomes virtue when placed in our contemporary market place, the music industry or political system.”    —Soweto Kinch, The Legend of Mike Smith, 2013

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra New Works (2012)

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“Deviating from a repertory angle, but not necessarily from a historical one, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra presents two new works from within its ranks. “God’s Trombones,” by the trombonist Chris Crenshaw, draws inspiration from the identically titled book of free verse sermons, by James Weldon Johnson, published in 1927. And “Inferno,” by the saxophonist Sherman Irby, builds on the familiar theme by Dante, with music performed in collaboration with HopeBoykinDance.”    —Jazz at Lincoln Center (retrieved on May 11, 2012)

See also: The New York Times, May, 10, 2012 (retrieved on May 11, 2012)

As the Poets Affirm

as-the-poets-affirm.jpg “As The Poets Affirm (As The Poets Affirm) was born out of a group of independent musicians in 2001 in Ottawa, Canada. What started as a three-piece acoustic project, eventually turned into an eclectic seven-member lineup experimenting with jazz, classical and electronica. Their name is taken from a line in Dante’s Inferno [Inf. XXIX.63].” [. . .]    —The Sirens Sound

The Mass, “City of Dis” (2005)

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City of Dis is the debut album from Oakland, California’s The Mass, who combine thrash, math metal, hardcore, and jazz into an artful amalgam. The lurching, jagged stop/go riffing of Dillinger Escape Plan is the order of the day, but the riffs themselves are typically more thrash based. The band is amazingly tight and performs with a great deal of precision. This is topped with the manic hardcore vocals of Matt Waters, who also plays saxophone. The sax is present in every song, but not throughout the songs. Instead, Waters picks his moments and provides accompaniment in the style a dual guitarist, or contributes wildly frenetic solos, which sound aggressive and spastic enough to put to rest any doubts regarding the testicular fortitude of the band. If Morphine played metal it would sound something like this.” [. . .]    –Matt Mooring, Last Rites, December 2012

Contributed by Jenn