Darcy James Argue directing Secret Society. Photo credit: Lindsay Beyerstein
Jazz composer Darcy James Argue is a fellow Finale user who’s gotten a lot of great press lately thanks to the phenomenal response received by Infernal Machines, the debut recording of his 18-piece big band, Secret Society. Infernal Machines was included in more than 70 best-of-the-year lists, including Best Debut honors in the prestigious Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll. I read an excellent review of Infernal Machines in Newsweek, and it was praised in not one, but two pieces on National Public Radio.
Inspiring all this attention is music. Music that goes much further afield than anything most of us would typically think of as big band music. As Time Out New York’s Hank Shteamer said, “Argue draws on the full spectrum of modern rock, jazz, and classical music” in a way that “handily transcends pastiche.” The BBC’s John Eyles credits Darcy with developing “a nearly perfect creative synthesis between tradition and innovation.”
In May 2010 Darcy shared a little of his history with Finale, and how he uses it to create this synthesis:
“I’ve been a Finale user since 1994 (version 3.0, I do believe) — it has been an essential part of my creative workflow as a composer for my entire adult life. I still remember vividly how liberating it was to make the leap from pencil and paper to notation software, how satisfying it felt to be able to be able to play in music using a MIDI keyboard.
With each new version, Finale has introduced powerful new features while continually streamlining its interface, all without losing the flexibility that pro users depend on. Finale works the way I want it to work: I use customized tool palettes, Staff Styles, Metatools, FinaleScript automation, Document Styles, Human Playback settings, etc., all configured for my particular needs. Finale helps me work quickly and efficiently because it lets me do things my way.”
I encourage you to give a listen to Darcy doing things his way at the New Amsterdam Records website.
[Update on 7-16-10: I was delighted to see Darcy’s name on the cover of the August 2010 issue of Downbeat. Inside, Howard Mandel’s article indicates that Darcy has won the Down Beat’s Critics Poll as “Rising Star” in the Big Band, Composer, and Arranger categories. It’s a nice piece — check it out (page 44). Congratulations and best wishes to Darcy!]