Pascal (l) and Remy (r) Le Boeuf (Photo: Zlata Kolomoyskaya, John Davydov)
Twin brothers Pascal and Remy Le Boeuf are inveterate musical searchers. Already well-grounded in the complex harmonies and shifting time signatures of contemporary post-bop, both musicians have continued to expand their musical palette, incorporating sounds and ideas from hip-hop, electronic, and classical traditions alike.
This Tuesday, August 4th, the Le Boeuf brothers return to The Jazz Gallery—one of their musical homes in New York—for a concert to celebrate their 29th birthdays. Remy and Pascal were kind enough to answer some questions about their show and recent projects via email.
The Jazz Gallery: Could you both give a few words about the project you’re bringing to The Jazz Gallery on August 4th?
Pascal Le Boeuf: We wanted to celebrate our 29th birthday by putting together a show with some of our friends and frequent collaborators. Both Linda and Peter are touring members of Le Boeuf Brothers and together we have developed an extensive repertoire over the years. The Jazz Gallery and its surrounding community have been a home to us since we moved to New York in 2004: The warmth and support radiating from this wonderful establishment made it a perfect venue to host our birthday concert. We are looking forward to a fun show that we expect will be just as much as a party as a performance.
TJG: How did you start working with Donny McCaslin, Linda Oh, and Peter Kronreif?
PL: We first met Linda briefly when we were kids at the 2004 IAJE conference in NY where we were being honored as fellows in various programs supported by IAJE, the National Foundation for Advancement in the ARTS (now YoungARTS) and the ASCAP Foundation. We later worked with her more extensively at the Banff Centre’s workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, then run by Dave Douglas. When Linda moved to New York we began playing shows and touring shortly after.
Remy Le Boeuf: Peter has toured with us for years and will be featured on our upcoming album, Imaginist. I first met him through a mutual friend at a jam session in Harlem in 2010. I was shocked by how well we played off of each other; wherever I went musically, Peter was right there with me. Wherever he went musically was a place I also wanted to explore. Peter joined us that Summer for a tour in California and Canada and we have been bandmates and close friends ever since.
PL: Donny is from our hometown of Santa Cruz, CA so we have always experienced a sort of kinship. He was also among the first to expand our quartet into a quintet back in 2006 when we performed a Monday night concert at the newly-formed Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
RL: I love playing with Donny. Earlier this Summer I performed with Donny’s saxophone quartet at Chamber Music America’s Bryant Park series. He writes great music, he’s a beast on the saxophone, and he’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet.
TJG: Pascal, you’ve written that “As an artist, I see my responsibility to humanity as that of a diver, charged with the task of swimming deep within the mind, beneath the surface of reality, to retrieve something beautiful, undiscovered or interesting to share with the real world.” How does this exploratory mission more concretely extend into the realms of composition and improvisation?
PL: This is a metaphor for the creative process. I have found the most rewarding experiences in both composing and group improvising to be those in which I/we are able to channel inward thoughts or feelings through the music. This is very personal but very meaningful in the moment. It’s the feeling you get when you’ve shared some vulnerability with the audience and the other musicians and the result is that almost magic closeness, that sense that we’ve all just shared a secret.
TJG: As far as I understand it, “Pascal’s triangle” describes a sort of sequence of numbers, increasing and expanding on the outside as they continuously add up on the inside. Are there any mathematical or conceptual underpinnings to the new album?
PL: Pascal’s Triangle was a happy accident. Originally meant to be an electronic crossover album, we decided to release only the acoustic recorded material and a few casual takes we recorded towards the end of the session. We’re still sitting on a ton of recorded material for the electronic crossover project such as Justin’s “W.A.I.T.T.” video. Hopefully, we’ll get an opportunity to release these tracks in the years to come.