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ND WiRED at Cafe 9 New Haven
“Nick Di Maria casts his lot with the jazz of the 1970s. He and his band are a tight, sinuous unit…whose
music is sometimes moody, sometimes playful, and often danceable. In a word, groovy.” -New Haven Independent
“New Haven-based trumpeter and composer Nick Di Maria has carved out a niche for himself
over the last decade.” -Hartford Courant
Revisiting Miles Yet Again…
There’s no way to down play the importance of Miles’s music through out his career, and his work from the early 1970’s is no exception what so ever.
For the last couple of months I have been working on new material for what will hopefully be a sequel album to Time Circuit.
I want to write more compositions in my own electric style but instead of writing out tunes that have various forms and chord changes, I want to focus on what I call the “groove tunes.”
These tunes are the type you see on my records from the very beginning. They’re nothing new in my composition and improvisational style. Jazz to the bone, but instead with layers of rhythmic vamps and variations that allow the band to develop the song as a unit, changing it from performance to performance.
Great examples of songs in this style from Miles’s catalog for anyone interested are: It’s About That Time, Shhhh/Peaceful, What I Say, Ali, Johnny Bratton, Go Ahead John, Honky Tonk, and honestly man more. Additional songs are Herbie’s Ostinato and Bennie Maupin’s Neophilia.
This style, which I’ve noticed the jazz police scoffing at, is my wheelhouse. I was a bassist born in a trumpeter’s body. I’m obsessed with the groove and layering rhythms over tunes. There’s just so much material out there to check out: Dave Holland, Alex Sipiagin, Steve Coleman, David Binney, Christian McBride and John Escreet all include this style in their own music as well.
Right now, I have plenty of songs written for the follow up to TC but I can’t decide whether to go in a more groove, open direction or basically replicate TC by including more structured tunes.
It’s kind of a funny thing to think about. On one hand you have the “if it ain’t broke… school of thought and just continue with what works or the “hey man, expand yourself and try for different things school.” I feel either way is a win/win, I mean I’m not trying to revolutionize music by any means but I guess it’s just something to think about.
Hey gang –
To anyone who may stumble across this post I apologize for any pain you may have felt for my online absence. Nothing personal, just been busy.
Time Circuit and it’s cd release was an absolute success. Last September, the band and I played the Outer Space stage for a night filled with grooves and good friends in the audience. The album got great reviews and I’m hoping that as the year progresses I can start pushing more cd sales.
I’m trying to get the band into the studio for an EP. I recently wrote so much material, there’s too much for the next disc so I figured why the heck not. It’d be fun to have a series of small batch recordings to add to the band’s discography.
I’m diving back into the world of avant garde music. I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time studying techniques learned from Taylor Ho Bynum, Anthony Braxton, Eddie Henderson and Nate Wooley to apply to improvisation on the trumpet. I’m trying to execute performances of free playing solo trumpet. It’s both mentally and physically demanding far beyond what I ever thought it would be.
In addition to that my duo group with Paul Belbusti, Jump Italiano, is really gelling nicely. We’ve now played two gigs and have had a great time playing and a great response from listeners. Looking forward to more performances!
Review of Time Circuit: New Haven Independent
By| Sep 24, 2015 6:47 am
“Black Rock,” the opening cut from Nick Di Maria’s Time Circuit, starts with a calm, spaced-out organ loop, atmospheric drums. Then a four-note bass line drops in, giving a sense of what’s ahead. Without warning, yet coming in right where it sound, the drums set off on a rhythm that wouldn’t be out of place on a James Brown record. And then there’s Di Maria’s trumpet, clear and precise. Except that it’s also run through a wah-wah pedal.
The arguments over jazz — what it is and what it isn’t, whether it’s alive or dead — aren’t going away any time soon. Meanwhile, a lot of musicians are planting their flags in one era of it or another. The past few years have seen a crop of young bands going all the way back to the beginning, making the same kind of sound jazz bands made in the 1920s. New Haven’s own Firehouse 12, which starts up its fall concert series this Friday, has become a kind of fortress for the music in its most contemporary incarnation. Somewhere out there, someone must be shredding Charlie Parker licks. On Time Circuit, New Haven-based trumpeter Nick Di Maria casts his lot with the jazz of the 1970s: Miles Davis when he shed some of his utter cool and started hanging out with electric guitar players, Herbie Hancock at what many consider the height of his powers.
And judging from the resulting album — Di Maria’s fourth, which he released earlier this month—it’s a pretty good place to be. Di Maria and his band (click on the sound file above for a sample) have been gigging pretty relentlessly for a while, and it shows. On the album, Andrew Kosiba on Fender Rhodes electric piano, Andrew Zwart on bass, and Eric Hallenbeck on drums are a tight, sinuous unit. They know what to do with the material and do it right.
The album’s devotion to the 1970s isn’t slavish either. Kosiba’s Rhodes is something of a sonic signifier of that era, but — appropriate to the title of the album — having started circa 1973, the band easily moves backward and forward through time from there. For good measure, on a few cuts (“Balance” and “Decoy”) the group shows that it hasn’t forgotten how to swing like they did in the 1950s. But the most successful pieces on the album (in this reporter’s humble opinion, “Black Rock,” “Drift,” and “The Poet”) are the ones that take the sound of 1970s jazz and update it, subtly but surely, making the kind of record one can make now that we’ve had four decades to digest what that era of jazz was all about.
In Di Maria’s case, he thoughtfully tones down a lot of that era’s excesses, but keeps intact its propulsive rhythmic sensibilities, its shifting harmonic density, and the wider sonic palette that’s possible when musicians go electric. This makes Time Circuit an intelligent and emotional record, sometimes moody, sometimes playful, and often danceable. It is, in a word, groovy.
Hartford Public Library Baby Grand Jazz Series 2015
Time Circuit Recording Photos 12/29/14
Bennie (N. Di Maria) Live at The Outer Space
Nick Di Maria Trumpet
Andrew Kosiba Keyboards/Effects
Andrew Zwart Bass
Mike Dick Drums