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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Album artwork by Justin Hopkins.

Album artwork by Justin Hopkins

Darius Jones is a saxophonist with both deep roots in the traditions of African-American music, and an unfettered conceptual imagination. Beginning with his debut album Man’ish Boy (A Raw and Beautiful Thing) in 2009, Jones has created a deeply personal musical language that he has continued to explore on subsequent albums—Big Gurl (Smell My Dream), Book of Mæbul (Another Kind of Sunrise), and The Oversoul Manual (all released by AUM Fidelity). These four albums comprise the beginning of Jones’s ongoing Man’ish Boy epic, a project that will eventually encompass nine albums.

This week marks the release of the next installment in Jones’s series, Le bébé de Brigitte (Lost in Translation), and The Jazz Gallery is proud to present Jones and his group in concert on Thursday, August 20th. For this installment of the project, Jones is joined by a new collaborator—French jazz singer Emilie Lesbros. Back in January 2014, Jones performed with Lesbros in the US for the first time at The Jazz Gallery. In a conversation with JazzSpeaks, Jones spoke of his and Lesbros’s musical meeting point:

One of the things we have in common is this woman Brigitte Fontaine, this legendary French avant-garde artist who has done all kinds of great things. We’re trying to deal with Bridget’s perspective as a musician and artist, and the tradition that I come from, which is jazz and gospel and the blues. We’re trying to say something different with these traditions.

Read the rest of Jones’s JazzSpeaks interview here.

The new album introduces a new character named Brigitte into the Man’ish Boy universe, a tribute to Jones and Lesbros’s common influence. But beyond this common influence, Jones, Lesbros, and the rest of the group come from diverse musical backgrounds, leading to musical frictions. Writing on the AUM Fidelity website, Jones notes:

In the process of creating this music, we often fell into moments of miscommunication because of differences in culture and language. I think this created a sense of mystery, and forced all of us to listen more deeply to each other’s nuances and subtleties, because we didn’t always have words to fall back on.

These musical frictions have led to some beautiful and moving results—songs that sit unsafely between musical traditions and can transport listeners to dark and unexplored parts of the mind. Check out some excerpts of this exciting new music in the player below, and come to the Gallery on Thursday night to hear the rest.

The Darius Jones Quartet featuring Emilie Lesbros performs at The Jazz Gallery on Thursday, August 20th, 2015. The group features Mr. Jones on alto sax, Ms. Lesbros on voice, Matt Mitchell on piano, Sean Conly on bass, and Ches Smith on drums. Sets are at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 general admission ($10 for members) for the first set, $10 general admission ($8 for members) for the second. Free with SummerPass. Purchase tickets here.

The creation of Le bébé de Brigitte (Lost in Translation) was aided & abetted by the French-American Jazz Exchange, a joint program of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.