Music is language and, as such, takes cues from literature and the written word.
That’s the theme that runs through “Imaginist,” the new album from the modern jazz quartet Le Boeuf Brothers.
“This project is about finding those commonalities,” says Remy Le Boeuf, talking along with his brother Pascal, in advance of the group’s free performance, 6:30 p.m. tonight at Mia Cuppa Caffe. He was originally inspired by reading Freud’s essay on the uncanny and realizing that many of the devices Freud was using within the text were the same Igor Stravinsky used in “The Rite of Spring.” He experiment with the idea in a piece called “A Dream.”
The song was based on a Franz Kafka story and led to a grant that would eventually fund “The Imaginist.”
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The project was recorded along with the JACK Quartet as a hybridized 9-piece chamber ensemble. The songs draws inspiration from literature and poetry along with contemporary music and group improvisation. While jazz music is rooted in improvisation, classical music, even contemporary classical music, is not. So the group was forced to bed adventurous with the compositions and look for alternative approaches to improvisation.
Of course, the Le Boeuf brothers aren’t strictly jazz musicians. Both play and compose music and Pascal is working toward a PhD in composition at Princeton University.
“It’s an extension of what we are into musically,” Pascal says.
The group is currently touring in support of the project, playing select shows with the JACK Quartet, with the Friction Quartet and with members of the modern music collective wild Up. They are playing pieces from “Imaginist” along with The Le Boeuf Brothers standards that have been specifically arrange for these condensed ensembles.
For the Fresno show, the brothers will be playing as a quartet.
Those who saw the group when it came through town last spring will still get pieces from the new album.
“They can expect music that draw upon language,” Remy says, which may sound a bit heady, for a jazz show. That’s OK.
“We want to make them think,” he says.
Le Boeuf Brothers
- 6:30 p.m., tonight
- Mia Cuppa Caffe, 620 E. Olive Ave.
- Free, all ages