Collection: Darius Jones
Photo: Kholood Eid
Darius Jones is an extraordinarily gifted alto saxophonist, composer, improviser, and bandleader. Based in NYC since 2005, he has inspired musicians and audiences around the world with his meticulously honed gifts. Soul-power is at his foundation; forward-looking expression never forgetting the past is elemental in his work.
“The most visceral and distinctive alto saxophonist of this era.” –The New York Times
"A head full of ideas and a heart full of talent. He never wastes a note or a breath." –Jazz Times
"[Darius displays] a remarkably well-developed concept and individual sound. It is defiant, vulnerable, proud, and weary; there is laughter and sobbing in it. He imbues simple melodies and phrases with huge emotional weight. –Point of Departure
"With expressive glissandi as opulently sensual as that of Johnny Hodges, and a knack for flipping innocent melodic utterances into lines fraught with chancy harmonic and rhythmic ambiguities, Jones' concept is proudly his own." –The Wire
"Brimming with intricacy and raw, soulful invention." –Signal To Noise
Discography as Leader
2021 - Raw Demoon Alchemy (A Lone Operation)
2015 - Le bébé de Brigitte (Lost in Translation)
2014 - The Oversoul Manual
2012 - Book of Mæ'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise)
2011 - Big Gurl (Smell My Dream)
2009 - Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)
Discography as Co-Leader
2014 - w/ Matthew Shipp : The Darkseid Recital
2013 - Little Women : Lung
2012 - Grass Roots : Grass Roots
2011 - w/ Matthew Shipp : Cosmic Lieder
2010 - Little Women : Throat
2008 - Little Women : Teeth
Discography as side-man/collaborator
2014 - Eric Revis Quartet : In Memory of Things Yet Seen
2013 - Gerald Cleaver's Black Host : Life in the Sugar Candle Mines
2012 - William Parker Orchestra : Essence of Ellington / Live in Milano
2010 - Mike Pride's From Bacteria to Boys : Betweenwhile
2010 - William Hooker : Earth's Orbit
2009 - Mara Rosenbloom Quartet : School of Fish
Darius Jones is an alto saxophonist, composer and producer. He joined the New York music community in 2005 after living and studying in Richmond, VA where he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelors in Jazz Studies in 2003. Darius earned a Master's Degree in Jazz Performance / Composition from New York University in 2008 and also taught New Music Improvisation there for a year as an adjunct professor.
Darius comes from a diverse musical background, which lead to his unique and soulful approach to music. His repertoire includes compositions and performances in electro-acoustic music, chamber ensembles, contemporary and avant-garde jazz groups, modern dance performances, and multi-media events. While in Richmond, he formed the Klimt Experience, a multi-media and performance art group combining modern dance, visual art, poetry, animation, and music into live performance. After relocating to New York, Darius used the Van Lier Fellowship awarded him by Roulette in 2008 to launch his chamber ensemble, Elizabeth-Caroline Unit, a project dedicated to new works for voice.
Darius was signed to AUM Fidelity in February of 2009 and released his highly acclaimed debut album as a leader, Man'ish Boy (A Raw and Beautiful Thing), in October of that year. The record features his trio with Bob Moses and Cooper-Moore, and reflects his time growing up in the South. The album was a clear favorite in the media, garnering overwhelming praise from the New York Times, Jazz Times, All About Jazz, Time Out New York, the Boston Globe, Pop Dose, Signal to Noise, The Wire, Paris Transatlantic, the Village Voice, and others.
Darius co-leads Little Women, a band with Travis LaPlante, Andrew Smiley, and Jason Nazary, that explores the extremes of sound by using extended techniques and acoustic manipulation. They released their full-length debut, Throat, in April 2010. Darius collaborates with artists including Trevor Dunn’s Proof Readers, Angelica Sanchez, William Parker, the Oliver Lake Big Band, Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys, Taylor Ho Bynum, William Hooker, Ben Gerstein, the Mara Rosenbloom Quartet, Kirk Knuffke, Matthew Shipp, Alex Harding, et al. In 2008, Darius produced a record for Korean jazz vocalist Sunny Kim titled Android Ascension, which was released on Korean label YDS Music. He also produced a record, Sugar, for country-folk artist Mary Bragg that year. Darius' music has taken him around the US, Europe and Canada with performances in the Vision Festival, Just Music Festival, Rumor Festival, Sons D'hiver Festival, Saalfelden Jazz Festival, JVC Festival, Winter Jazz Festival, Seattle Earshot Festival and others.
Darius was nominated for a Jazz Journalists Association Award for 2009 Up and Coming Artist and was one of Jazz Times' Debut Artists of the Year for 2009.
April 2011 saw the release of Cosmic Lieder, the first manifestation of his profound collaboration with pianist/composer Matthew Shipp. They continued to develop their utterly unique universe of sound, later releasing their second body of work, The Darkseid Recital. In February 2011, Jones recorded the next set of compositions in his Man'ish Boy series with his then long-standing trio featuring bassist Adam Lane and drummer Jason Nazary; the resulting album, Big Gurl (Smell My Dream), was released that fall, garnering another wave of acclaim, and a visit to Italy for his first European engagements. That same season, Jones was back in the studio to record his first quartet session as a leader with Matt Mitchell, Trevor Dunn, and Ches Smith. The resulting album & the third part of his first trilogy, Book of Mæ'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise), was released in April 2012. As DownBeat noted at that time, "With each new recording we're seeing another facet of a magnificently gifted musician."
In 2014, after years of painstaking & loving development with his devoted The Elizabeth-Caroline Unit, being: Amirtha Kidambi / Sarah Martin / Jean Carla Rodea / Kristin Slipp, Darius Jones released The Oversoul Manual – an intricate vocal work utilizing a created language, it presented the birth in sound of Man'ish Boy. The Oversoul Manual was world premiered in concert at Carnegie Hall on October 3, 2014 to a packed audience laden with luminaries, receiving a rapturous standing ovation. Some words in response to the recording: "Esoteric and enchanting." –TimeOut New York "Deeply affecting on both an emotional and a physical level, and easily one of the most surprising albums of the year" –The Wire "The Oversoul Manual is a contoured, formidable, signature work." –JazzTimes "Absolutely striking. Downright masterful" –Culture Catch
The month before his Carnegie Hall debut, Darius Jones was back in the studio (!) recording a new set of compositions for his quartet, this time working with & featuring French-born singer-lyricist Emilie Lesbros. Le bébé de Brigitte (Lost in Translation), released in late 2015 was yet another truly extraordinary work. To which: "With this release, Darius Jones cements his position as a brilliant, model jazz musician in the new century. After absorbing his five-album cycle of music that is simultaneously extremely varied and remarkably focused, we have to acknowledge that Jones is one of our most important young composers and thinkers about this music." –PopMatters
Le bébé de Brigitte (Lost in Translation) is also Jones' most recent work to be released on record. He has been exceptionally busy over the last 5 years – writing, shedding, premiering in performance pointedly political multi-media works, developing new group concepts on stage, traveling to play concerts, and preparing for what comes next >>>