I am really excited to present new music to the world from my hip-hop/jazz quartet, The Beast. For this particular project we invited some of our closest friends, on the NC music scene, to join us for what we call The Beast + Big Band. We have worked very hard this year to produce a 4 song EP entitled “Gardens.” You can listen/stream/buy the album here:
Read the press release below for a more detailed explanation of the project:
Durham, NC On October 22, 2013, The Beast will release its self-produced EP, “Gardens,” with four tracks focused around a special ensemble called The Beast + Big Band. This project surrounds the core quartet with nine Triangle all-star musicians – four brass players, three string players, guitar, and percussion. The EP consists of recent songs written by the band, reinterpreted for large ensemble, and orchestrated by the group’s pianist, Eric Hirsh. To celebrate the release of this EP, The Beast + Big Band will headline a show on October 24th at Motorco Music Hall, with an opening set by another local genre-bending large ensemble, Hindugrass.
The title of the album is a reference to how The Beast + Big Band got its start. In 2012, Duke Performances invited The Beast to open its summer Music In The Gardens series. The band, wanting to do something special for this show, decided to take advantage of the rich community of artists in the Triangle area and assembled a large ensemble to interpret its songs. What was originally planned to be a one-time-only concert received such overwhelmingly positive feedback that the band has chosen to curate more arrangements and shows for the Big Band in parallel with its original quartet configuration. To date, The Beast + Big Band has played three shows since that first one at Duke: Shakori Hills Grassroots Music Festival, downtown Durham Independence Day, and an opening set for Nnenna Freelon at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center.
“Gardens” was recorded live at Durham’s Sound Pure Studios in early January 2013. All thirteen musicians played at the same time, eschewing the conveniences of modern overdubbing technology to capture the energy of timeless, collaborative performance. Beyond this initial tracking session, “Gardens” features one guest appearance, a verse from original Justus League member, Median, on the big band’s version of “My People,” a song originally recorded for WKNC’s 2009 Hear Here compilation.
Immediately after the CD release party at Motorco, The Beast will return to the studio to finish a second four-track EP, with songs produced in a much more electronic style. This EP, yet to be titled, is due to be released towards the end of 2013.
About The Beast
The Beast is a Durham-based quartet that fearlessly navigates worlds of hip hop and jazz with compelling lyrics, progressive compositions, and a gripping live show. Hailed as a “natural, engaging blend of jazz and hip hop” by Jazz Times magazine, The Beast has been voted “Best of the Triangle: Best Hip Hop Act” by the Independent Weekly for three consecutive years. The quartet developed its sound at UNC-Chapel Hill, where pianist Eric Hirsh, drummer Stephen Coffman, and bassist Peter Kimosh studied jazz in the music department, while emcee Pierce Freelon (now a professor in UNC’s departments of music and African and Afro-American Studies) developed his intelligent lyricism in classrooms and music venues across campus.
The Beast BIG BAND is
Al Strong, trumpet; Aaron Hill, alto sax/tenor sax/clarinet; Tim Smith, tenor sax/flute; Andy Kleindienst, trombone; Karen Galvin, violin; Jenavieve Varga, violin; Leah Gibson, cello; Keith Ganz, guitar; Brevan Hampden, percussion
For more information, review copies, or interviews, please contact
Pierce Freelon, (919) 697-7728