Sherman Irby’s Musings Of Cosmic Stuff

Featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Oct 27–28 • 8PM
Rose Theater

New York, NY (October 4, 2023) — Sherman Irby, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s stalwart alto and soprano saxophonist, leads a gravity-defying exploration of the universe with the world premiere of his new commission Musings of Cosmic Stuff on October 27-28, 2023, at 8:00 p.m. in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. Live webcast on October 28 (on demand through 11/4)

Performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, with narration by astrophysicist and writer Neil deGrasse Tyson, Musings of Cosmic Stuff leads audiences on a sonic journey spanning billions of years. From the smallest particles to full-on supernovas, the work explores how we relate to our cosmos—and how our cosmos relate to us.

“I have always been in awe of outer space, and all the ‘stuff’ in it,” said Irby. “When I was a child, I immersed myself in science fiction short stories in Readers Digest, and the latest Silver Surfer comic book, and I imagined things that were so vast and unimaginable.” Irby continued, “At these concerts, as one of the greatest minds of the subject, Neil deGrasse Tyson, describes the birth of the universe and the phenomena it contains, audiences will experience my aural paintings as performed by the JLCO.”

Musings of Cosmic Stuff marks Irby’s newest commission by Jazz at Lincoln Center, performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Irby’s earlier works include Twilight Sounds, which premiered in 2010, and was released on the Blue Engine Records album Jazz and Art II in 2019. The composer’s Dante-inspired ballet Inferno was recorded live in 2012 and released on Blue Engine Records in 2020. Irby’s compositions “A Hot Jam on Grand,” from the collective commission Of Thee I Sing, premiered on the Portraits of America concert in 2019. His tunes, “The Truth (for Paul Pierce)” and “The Ponderous Pachyderm of the Planks (for Clyde Lovellette),” co-commissioned by Kansas University, appears on Rock Chalk Suite, the album released on Blue Engine Records in 2020.

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Sherman Irby was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As a high school student, he played and recorded with gospel immortal James Cleveland, later graduating from Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor of Arts in music education. In 1991, he joined Johnny O ’Neal’s Atlanta-based quintet and, in 1994, moved to New York City and recorded his first two albums on Blue Note Records. Irby toured the United States and the Caribbean with the Boys Choir of Harlem in 1995. His first stint with the JLCO was from 1995 to 1997. A Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead alum, Irby recorded and toured with Marcus Roberts, and has served as a member of Roy Hargrove ’s ensemble, Elvin Jones’ ensemble, and Papo Vazquez’s Pirates Troubadours. He has served as regional director for Jazz Masters Workshop, artist-in-residence for Jazz Camp West, an instructor for Monterey Jazz Festival Band Camp, and former board member for the CubaNOLA Collective. In the early aughts, Irby formed Black Warrior Records, releasing five acclaimed recordings. Since rejoining JLCO in 2005, Irby has become a key arranger and been commissioned to compose new works including Twilight Sounds, his Dante-inspired ballet Inferno, and Musings of Cosmic Stuff, inspired by his interest in science fiction.

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