Genre Group Quarteto Nuevo Fuses Western Classical, European Folk, Latin And Jazz – WABE



Last year, The New Yorker wrote an article titled “Gender Is Disappearing. What Happens Next?” This existential question is what many musical artists are figuring out today. “Does my music belong to a genre?” One group in particular Nuevo Quartet, is a great example of gender bending. The four-piece band merge Western classical, Eastern European folk, Latin and jazz into their songs. They recently released a new album, “Quarteto Nuevo 2”, last July. The group performs at the Strand Theater in Marietta Square on November 5. Before hitting the stage, member Damon Zick, the band’s soprano saxophonist and alto flutist, joined “City Lights” producer Summer Evans via Zoom to talk about the band and their kaleidoscopic new album.

Interview Highlights:

A self-selected group of musically encyclopedic virtuosos:

“We really like to play all of these styles of music — classical chamber music, jazz and improvisation and world music. And even in a big music scene like Los Angeles, when you put those parameters in place, it really limits the number of people who can actually make that music,” Zick said. “In a way, we kind of found each other quite naturally. When we’re looking to make this kind of music, the options aren’t as vast as you might think and then once we found each other and started playing together, we really found a kind of synergy and we were like, ‘Hey, this is something that works really well.

“Everyone has a similar sort of thing where in a typical week doing indie music in LA, one day we’ll do a rock recording session and then a film score session, and then we’ll be playing string quartets at somebody’s wedding, and everything in between. And so it’s this real love of all these diverse styles and everyone in the band can really navigate them at a really high level, it’s is what I like in the group.

International adventures in style and language:

“[‘Dizer o Que?’] was actually…composed by our guitarist, Kenton Youngstrom, and Kenton wrote this song a few years ago, and when he wrote it, he was playing it for a friend of his and the friend said, ‘Oh, that really sounds like a Chick Corea composition,’ and she definitely has it,” Zick recalled. “The friend said, ‘Well, you should call it Portugal,’ because Chick Corea has a famous composition called ‘Spain.’ And Kenton originally titled it, ‘Say What?’, which is fine. , but when Felipe [Fraga] joined us and said, “Well, you know what, it sounds a lot better in Portuguese”, and so “Dizer o Que?” is Portuguese for ‘Say what?’

“A few years ago we were talking for the band that most of our music, when we were doing world music, was definitely out of the country. So we were doing South American and Eastern European music. Is and all that stuff, and Jacob [Szekely] and I was talking and I said “We also need to focus a little more on the regional differences of America”, and so he introduced [‘Appalachian Waltz,’] which is one of his favorites. Marc O’Connor is a fiddle legend,” Zick said. “It’s definitely kind of a classical approach, but… you certainly hear those nuances of the fiddle tradition, and part of that is that there’s also a huge fiddle tradition in Irish or Celtic music, so you definitely hear that come into play. I love the version that Jacob put together.

Not your typical stuffy classical gig:

“The things we always hear about the set that get people excited are, number one, visually how much fun we seem to have. And we are. It’s our passion project, and we’re all leaving our independent careers in LA to go on the road and do these tours because that’s what we really, really love to do,” Zick said. “That kind of joy of performing really comes from performing. You will see that this is by no means a stuffy chamber music concert. You will see us having fun, smiling and laughing, and we love interacting with the public.

Quarteto Nuevo performs at Marietta’s Strand Theater and Aurora Theater on November 5. Tickets and more information are available at The Quarteto Nuevo tour schedule is available at

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