Thursday, August 21, 2008
What does the future of jazz look like? These days it strongly resembles Remy and Pascal Le Boeuf, remarkable Santa Cruz-raised twins who are in the midst of exploring some of the music’s most exciting directions.
With a mantle full of awards for their prowess as players and composers, the 22-year-old brothers are part of a rising generation of improvisers steeped in post-bop vocabularies but just as conversant in alt-rock, pop and electronica.
Remy and Pascal, who play alto saxophone and piano, respectively, perform on Saturday at Monterey Live as part of a seven-city West Coast tour. They’re joined by special guest Mike Ruby on tenor sax, longtime collaborators Dominic Thiroux on bass, and drummer Hamir Atwal, who’s been touring recently with master altoist Greg Osby.
The tour catches the Le Boeuf brothers at an interesting moment in their young lives. They spent their first 20 years in constant company with each other, and their prodigious musical accomplishments flowed from a combination of sibling affection and rivalry. But since they graduated from the Manhattan School of Music last year, Remy stayed in New York to pursue a master’s degree, while Pascal decided to embark on a musical odyssey, soaking up knowledge at various stops around the country.
“This whole last year I’ve been jumping around,” Pascal says. “I went to Berklee for a semester to study electronic music and songwriting. I’ve been moving from Miami to New York to Boston to Santa Cruz.”
“We were kind of apart, and he was doing his thing and I was doing mine,” Remy says. “We grew in different directions. I started studying with a classical composition teacher, and he’s been getting into electronica. It’s only going to be better for our vision together.”
Their shared musical vision is apparent on an upcoming album, House Without a Door. It’s the brothers’ third CD, and it showcases their evermore-confident composing. While half of the album features a tough, young rhythm section of their musical peers, the other half finds the twins keeping company with stellar New York cats like drummer Clarence Penn, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland.
For the Monterey Live gig, the Le Boeufs will be focusing on the new material covering an enticing array of moods and grooves.
“My music tends to take more of a relaxed role, more on the ballad side, with an introspective feeling,” Pascal says. “Remy and Mike are really fiery. We count on ourselves to balance out the band. We’re often using odd time signatures and polyrhythms, but not in an aggressive way. Harmonically, I’m definitely influenced by rock and Radiohead.”
Part of what makes the brothers such exciting artists is that they’re growing by leaps and bounds, integrating far-flung influences as they eagerly seek out new sounds and experiences.
“I feel like I’ve got a split personality,” Pascal says. “Part of me is really into writing music on computer, doing music that’s almost electronica and triphop. And the other side is into progressive jazz and playing in New York jazz clubs. I want to keep them separate until I know enough about each, and they can both stand on their own.”
The Le Boeuf Brothers Quintet featuring Mike Ruby performs 7pm Saturday at Monterey Live, 414 Alvarado St., Monterey. $15. 375-5483, www.montereylive.org