Darcy James Argue

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Darcy James Argue
Darcy James Argue 06N5508.jpg
Argue at the Moers Festival, 2009
Background information
Born (1975-05-23) May 23, 1975 (age 43)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, bandleader
Years active2005–present
LabelsNew Amsterdam
Associated actsDarcy James Argue's Secret Society
Darcy James Argue and
the Danish Radio Big Band (2016)

Darcy James Argue is a jazz composer and bandleader known for his work with his 18-piece ensemble, Secret Society.


Argue was born in Vancouver, British Columbia.[1][2] He studied at McGill University in Montreal from 1993–1998, and in 2000 he moved to the U.S. to study composition at New England Conservatory of Music[3] with jazz composer Bob Brookmeyer.[4] Following his studies at New England Conservatory, Argue moved to Brooklyn in 2003.

Secret Society[edit]

In 2005, Argue founded Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, an eighteen-piece big band. In 2009, the group released their first studio album, Infernal Machines, on New Amsterdam Records, an independent record label in New York City. The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album[5] and a Juno Award nomination in Canada for Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year.[6] It was recognized multiple times in the Down Beat magazine Critics' Poll[7] and included on annual lists at The New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Paste, and the Ottawa Citizen.[8]

The Society's second album, Brooklyn Babylon (2013), was based on a multimedia performance created with visual artist Danijel Zezelj and premiered at the BAM Next Wave Festival in November 2011. The album received Grammy and Juno Award nominations.[9][10] It won the top positions for Arranger and Big Band in the 2013 Down Beat Critics' Poll,[11] was named Best Album of 2013 by The New Republic,[12] and included in the Top 10 Albums of the 2013 NPR Music Jazz Critics' Poll.[13]

The Society's third album, Real Enemies (New Amsterdam, 2016) received a Grammy nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.[14]


Argue has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the Jazz Gallery, the Manhattan New Music Project, the Jerome Foundation, and Brooklyn Academy of Music, as well as ensembles including the Danish Radio Big Band, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the Jazz Knights, and the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from New Music USA, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony.




  1. ^ "Darcy James Argue's Secret Society". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  2. ^ Gehr, Richard (2009-05-05). "Darcy James Argue's Metal Machine Music". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  3. ^ Leonard, Devin (2009-07-09). "The History of Jazz, by Darcy James Argue". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  4. ^ "The Perils of Empire: Steampunk Big Band" (PDF). SteamPunk Magazine. p. 65. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  5. ^ "Several Jazz Surprises In The 2011 Grammy Award Nominations". NPR. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  6. ^ "JUNO Category of Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year, 2010". Wreckhouse. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  7. ^ "DownBeat 60th Annual Critics Poll". Down Beat. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  8. ^ "Secret Society Music Albums". Secret Society. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  9. ^ "Brooklyn Babylon nominated for Grammy". Secret Society. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  10. ^ "JUNO 2014 Nominees & Winners". JUNO Awards. Archived from the original on 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  11. ^ "DownBeat Annual Critics Poll". Down Beat. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  12. ^ "The Best Albums of 2013, the Year Marketing Almost Took Over Music". The New Republic. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  13. ^ "The 2013 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll". NPR. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  14. ^ "Scofield, Hersch, Mehldau Lead Jazz Grammy Noms". Down Beat. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  15. ^ "Darcy James Argue". Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  16. ^ "Darcy James Argue". Fellowship Awards in the United States and Canada, 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  17. ^ "Darcy James Argue | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 December 2016.