New Duke Returns to the Quick for American Music Series, Dec. 16
New Duke, a seven-piece ensemble led by Brian Q. Torff, will add their own twist to Duke Ellington standards when they take the stage at the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.
Formed by Brian Torff, bassist, composer and music program director at Fairfield University, New Duke brings the music of Duke Ellington alive in a new way, combining the power of Ellington’s tunes with the grooves of hip-hop, rock and reggae. With contemporary arrangements by Torff, the ensemble provides “daring musical mash-ups,” injecting the classic sax, brass and rhythm sounds of Duke Ellington with funk, ska, world beat and other African influences.
“New Duke will be performing original songs from our yet unreleased album, 'Post Authentic World' recorded this past summer," Torff said. "It was produced by the renowned musician Steve Katz and is a new direction for the band. The songs are stories about America and it gives the band both a contemporary voice in a somewhat retro style.”
New Duke is comprised of Torff, bass and harmonica; Greg Burrows, drums; Darryl Tookes, vocals; Jamie Finegan, trumpet and flugelhorn; Rick Sadlon, alto sax and flute; Steve Moran, tenor, soprano and baritone saxes and clarinet; John Fumasoli, trombone; and Dave Childs, piano and keyboards.
Performing original compositions, their work introduces the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, The Doors, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Cream and Crosby, Stills and Nash to mainstream jazz pieces, showing the evolution of American popular music.
“I grew up in the late ’60s and early ’70s period of jazz-rock horn bands and there was so much wonderful experimentation going on then,” said Torff. “My love for rock and jazz led me into the three Bs of music: The Beatles, James Brown, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.”
The band has performed at summer jazz festivals, in concerts, educational workshops, with the organization Music for Youth and is an audience favorite at Fairfield University. New Duke will bring fresh, inventive tunes to their upcoming performance at the Wien Experimental Theatre. This live music experience is a part of the Global Theatre Series, which returned to the Quick this year with a focus on American Music and was curated by Torff.
Don’t miss New Duke at the Quick Center on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $30 | $20 for Quick Center Members, and are available at quickcenter.com or by calling the Box Office at 203-254-4010.
Pictured at right: Brian Torff, bassist, composer and music program director at Fairfield University on the harmonic.