Please join us for the celebration of the latest release from PJCE Records, BREATH OF FIRE, Industrial Jazz Group leader Andrew Durkin’s first solo release—and his first effort in eight years.
Featuring David Valdez on alto sax, Tim Willcox on tenor sax, Ryan Meagher on guitar, Todd Bishop on drums, Andrew Jones on bass, and Durkin on piano and compositions, Breath of Fire is a sonic exploration of mortality. The title, which comes from a yogic breathing technique, hints at the album’s themes: the body (the title track, “Vena Cava,” and “My One and Only Vice”), the afterlife (“The Spiral Staircase,” “Psychopomp Stomp”), and the loss of innocence (“Flower-Gun Song,” “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Tear Gas”). The album is dark, complex, and tuneful. Its centerpiece may be the lovely “Brega,” with its winding Rhodes melody and restless chord progression.
Best known for his work with Los Angeles’s cult-favorite big band, the Industrial Jazz Group, Durkin has honed an eclectic, personal style influenced by composers Frank Zappa, Raymond Scott, Spike Jones, Charles Mingus, Carla Bley, Duke Ellington, and Thelonious Monk, and incorporating elements of metal, Baroque, and American roots music. He released five albums with the IJG, with whom he also performed throughout the United States, as well as in the Netherlands, and Italy. In addition to its music, that group was once known for its strange costumes, Situationist stagecraft, and irreverent attitude. But Durkin has also written for less raucous contexts, including soundtracks for experimental films, and commissions for various schools and performance groups on the West Coast.
In 2011, Durkin, who has a PhD in English Literature and was one of the pioneers of the “jazz blogosphere,” embarked on a second career as an author. He has since devoted as much time to writing prose as to writing music. In 2014, Pantheon Books published his literary debut; a nonfiction study called Decomposition: A Music Manifesto, which Los Angeles Magazine included in its list of the “Best Little Music Books of 2014.” Composer Gavin Borchert, writing in the Seattle Weekly, called Decomposition “impressive and absorbing,” and pianist and writer Ethan Iverson hailed it as “fun and provocative.”
Durkin’s band for the event will be David Valdez, Lee Elderton, Ryan Meagher, Andrew Jones, and Todd Bishop.
The opening set will be played by singer/songwriter Jeni Wren.