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Darius Jones’ Shades of Black To Play Firehouse 12

Special to the Courant

Composer, alto saxophonist and band leader Darius Jones has been exploring big themes involving African-American traditions, history and culture and the ways they relate, inspire and feed into the wider world. Jones branches into the realms of sci-fi and Afro-mysticism as well.

In its way, the music can gesture toward Ellington and Sun Ra and toward gospel, blues and beyond. Jones has been doing extraordinary collaborations with adventurous vocalists in recent years. Difference and an exuberant multicultural utopianism radiate from some of Jones’ recordings, which are advanced, bold, far-out and yet stoked with grooves and ear-catching lyricism.

Before arriving in New York City, Jones came of age playing in Richmond, Va. He grew up in the church, and early on he worked with a multimedia performance collective that mixed dance, music and theater.

Jones’ music is all about a cultural polyglot vibe, able to move and communicate in all kinds of places. Jones communicates with his ambitious work, but he’s also interested in the subject of communication, in language, and in the ways that we can fail to understand one another.

Jones will be performing with his new and unrecorded Shades of Black quintet. See Darius Jones’ Shades of Black at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St., New Haven, on Oct. 26, when it performs two sets: at 8:30 p.m. ($20) and 10 p.m. ($15). 203-785-0468 or firehouse12.com

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