“I often feel that modern jazz finds itself in a realm of such abstraction that it puts off many listeners who are less familiar with the jazz tradition,” says the saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf. “My introduction to jazz was through the music of Charles Mingus; his music was always about something and it fascinated me how he would recreate poetry, political events, and stories through music.”
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, Remy and his twin brother, the pianist Pascal Le Boeuf, developed their talents side by side: “We used to play for tips at a local farmers market in Santa Cruz, CA where we grew up. It was something we could do together that wasn’t competitive, but creative and had a positive effect on the community.” As Metroactive notes, “Even by the uncanny standards of identical twins, the Le Boeuf Brothers have forged a remarkably close connection. What sets them apart from other siblings who share the same DNA and a preternatural level of communication is that they practice it in public, on the bandstand, to unique artistic effect.”
The connections strengthened and grew deeper and more serious over time, as turns towards composing and improvising led Remy and Pascal to realize that they both wanted to keep playing music for the rest of their lives. The brothers moved to New York in 2004, and have continued to perform and record together to this day. They’ve also worked with some boundary-pushing elders and peers, including Chris Potter, Marcus Gilmore, John Benitez, Marcus Strickland, Ambrose Akinmusire, and others.
The twins latest recording is In Praise of Shadows (Nineteen-Eight), which you can stream in its’ entirety here. Downbeat proclaims, “Brothers in musical crime and creative invention with chops and a flexible pocketful of ideas about how jazz could go in the 2010s. Their latest album freely incorporates electronics, digitized production modes and sounds from the pop realm, while slipping in tasty improvisational elements.” The magazine praises the brothers as “impressive young players with integrity,” and that the result is “coolly appealing.” JazzTimes adds, “Twin brothers Remy and Pascal Le Boeuf deftly blend elements of electronica with touches of indie rock and sophisticated jazz writing on this genre-defying project. The brothers create their own provocative niche.”
This Thursday, we are pleased to present the premiere of Remy’s latest project, “A Dream: The Musical Imagination of Franz Kafka.” The work draws on and builds around elements of Kafka’s short story, “A Dream.” The piece was commissioned by Chamber Music of America and written for 9-piece chamber jazz ensemble plus narrator, and is designed to evoke “a blurry dreamscape of enchantment, inevitability, and one’s struggle with self-perception.” Remy speaks:
My goal is to engage the listener by blending the music and story into each other to create a synergy that highlights the beauty in both. The creative impetus behind modern jazz is often unclear, even to the musicians playing the music. This project is about something clear, something engaging, and something with both literary and musical depth. Kafka’s story unfolds like a perfect song.