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The New World Jazz Composers Octet

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An opportunity to hear new music composed by Berkley College of Music faculty.
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Daniel Ian Smith and Felipe Salles - saxophones/flutes

Billy Buss and Dan Rosenthal - trumpet and flugelhorns

Tim Ray - piano

Fernando Huergo - electric bass

Mark Walker - drumset

Ernesto Diaz - percussion



A note to the audience from Daniel Ian Smith:

The New World Jazz Composers Octet was formed as part of a concert series entitled “Jazz in the Sanctuary” in Brookline, MA around 2004. It started out as the “Sanctuary Composers Forum” which was a concert I organized twice a year for the purpose of playing new music by composers on faculty from the Berklee College of Music and other professional writers/arrangers from the New England and NYC areas. I put together an odd instrumentation (or so I was told by a few of the writers!) which consisted of two saxophones with doubles, two trumpets, piano, acoustic bass, drumset and percussion.


The ensemble was well received and we quickly gained a reputation as a solid and reliable group to write for and the music kept coming in. Ted Pease, Jeff Friedman, Dick Lowell, Ken Schaphorst, Matthew Nicholl and Manuel Kaufmann were consistent supporters and were incredibly generous with their music and never ceased to inspire and challenge the band. The band started playing at local clubs like Ryles Jazz Club and the LilyPad in Cambridge among other places and we became known as “The New World Jazz Composers Octet”. In 2007, we released our first record entitled No Place to Hide after an amazing composition written for the band by Ted Pease which is featured on the record and to date one of my favorite compositions ever written for the band.


2010 brought about our second release entitled Transitions after a beautiful piece written for us by pianist/composer Edgar Dorantes from Xalapa, Mexico. In 2011 we released Breaking News after a great composition written by trumpeter/composer/arranger Walter Platt who was also a member of the band at the time. The records were well received and earned accolades in Jazz Times, DownBeat magazine, AllAboutJazz and Cadence magazine.


The group been a featured guest at several small festivals and venues throughout New England over the years and the library of music and composers who have contributed to our book continues to grow I’m proud to say. Ted Pease has become my co-producer in the band over the past many years in addition to the incredible music he writes for us he’s helped produce the last 3 recordings and I’m indebted to him. He’s truly an inspiration and nobody writes for this group like he does. In October of 2019, the group went back into the recording studio and laid down the tracks that became our latest record entitled The Next Stage. The record was released in December 2020 in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic which our world continues to endue. The Next Stage is named after a composition I wrote for my daughter Catherine, and was arranged and adapted for the group by Ted Pease. The new record also features an incredible work written for us by the great Michael Abene and a terrific piece written by Matthew Nicholl whose music is consistently a favorite among the members of the band.


Ted and I pay tribute to our dear friend and colleague Jeff Friedman who loved this band and wrote some gorgeous music for us through the years. Jeff was a colleague at the Berklee College of Music where he taught jazz composition for many years and was a copyist and orchestrator for the great Carla Bley and Steve Swallow among others. Jeff was taken from this earth far too soon and we miss him dearly. Ted’s Elegy for Jeff is a fitting tribute featuring an unaccompanied horn chorale as bookends to a beautiful piano interlude by Doug Johnson. Jeff we miss you but your music lives and breathes inside the soul of this group. We look forward to finally presenting this music to the public.