Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Luis Godinho

Credit: Luis Godinho

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein

Credit: Lindsay Beyerstein


“The composer and bandleader serves as one of the driving forces behind new generations of ambitious large ensemble instrumental music. Dynamic Maximum Tension serves as proof.”

DownBeat 72nd Annual Critics Poll


The 50 Best Albums of 2023

Dynamic Maximum Tension, his most expansive and ambitious statement with the band, practically explodes with big ideas […] a double album that reinvigorates the big-band tradition with a modern metabolism.”

Nate Chinen | NPR


“One of the era’s top big-band composers […] this, his fourth album, is his best to date: a work of stunning eclecticism and complexity, but thoroughly accessible, elastic with swing.”

Fred Kaplan | Slate

The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2023

“Simply some of the most exciting music being made right now. […] Argue’s music shifts and whirls like an entire galaxy in orbit around itself, and it’s breathtaking to listen to. I love this record.”

Phil Freeman | Stereogum

Standout jazz albums of 2023 came from rising young talents and legends alike

“It may be a stretch to say this Vancouver-bred composer and band leader has singlehandedly reinvented big-band music. But not by much, as this dazzling, unfailingly creative album vividly attests.”

George Varga | The San Diego Union-Tribune

12 Grammy Nominees You Need to Hear

“Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society is an 18-piece big band that stokes suspense with dissonance and pinpoint timing.”

Jon Pareles | The New York Times

The 17 Best Jazz Albums of 2023

“The title Dynamic Maximum Tension could be a review, as the music is in constant flux […] as different voices and sonorities weave, bob, and vie for attention. Argue has a crack band of long-standing and a sensibility that is his own. Every time he releases something new, ears should go on alert.”

Will Layman | PopMatters

The Best 30 Jazz Albums of 2023

“A celebration of big band magnificence, characterized by sterling layering taste, solid movements, and expertly seamless passages."

Filipe Freitas | JazzTrail


“Mae West, the original bad bitch of Hollywood, is the inspiration for this lascivious big band number […]. Cécile McLorin Salvant purrs one-liners as Ingrid Jensen’s trumpet sashays over a lush arrangement.”

Lars Gotrich | NPR

Argue’s Secret Society produces “Maximum Tension” on a lively new album

“Listening to Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, I’m impressed by the music’s clarity, textural contrast, and shiny surfaces, his ingenuity and lively rhythms, impeccable ensemble playing, and fine soloists.”

Kevin Whitehead | Fresh Air

Ottawa Jazz Festival: First weekend featured joy-filled funk, esoteric sounds

“Friday’s fully packed studio show by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society was as enthralling as it was fabulously complex […] a set of heady, sprawling compositions that, for all of their unexpected sounds, textures and intellectual rigor, connected with listeners. This is a brilliant and significant artist who is lighting the way for ambitious, large-scale jazz to come.”

Peter Hum | Ottawa Citizen

Darcy James Argue’s Walk Through History

“Like Buckminster Fuller’s geometric images, Argue’s streamlined use of space and motion (spinning horns, percussive thrust) incites the imagination.”

Suzanne Lorge | DownBeat

The Best Jazz on Bandcamp, September 2023

“There’s a legitimate argument to be made that no musician has had a greater influence on modern big band jazz than Darcy James Argue.”

Dave Sumner | Bandcamp Daily

5 Classical Music Albums You Can Listen to Right now

“Darcy James Argue is one of the great living composers for chamber orchestra.”

Seth Colter Walls | The New York Times

New Music

“Argue represents the very peak of innovative current big band possibilities…. This is seriously terrific jazz… an extraordinary album: one of the best of the year.”
Keith Black | Winnipeg Free Press


“Wildly inventive… Argue brings together a bevy of adept instrumentalists and improvisers to bring his rhythmically kinetic, harmonically vibrant works to life.”

Matt Collar | AllMusic

December 2023 Jazz Record Reviews

“Argue's concept of big band jazz is extroverted, intricate, historically grounded, and forward-looking. He loves to unleash explosive forces. His band roars. […] one of the essential large ensemble jazz recordings of the new millennium.”

Thomas Conrad | Stereophile

Editors’ Picks

“Each track on this new double disc from Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society stands as a marvel of musical architecture, a self-contained miniverse populated by conspiring ensemble players and ace soloists.”
Ed Enwright | DownBeat

REVIEW: Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Dynamic Maximum Tension

“A heady elixir of the past, the present and an imagined future, it maintains a right to surprise. And does.”

Stuart Nicholson | Jazzwise

Album Review: Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Dynamic Maximum Tension

“From the tensile strength of the first chord of ‘Dymaxion’ to the dark growling power of ‘Ferromagnetic’ and the final word of ‘Mae West,‘ Dynamic Maximum Tension is a delight.”

Katchie Cartwright I All About Jazz


“Superlative… brimming with a sonic invention that is redolent of Lalo Schifrin’s funky movie scores.”

Charles Waring | Record Collector

Album Review: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Dynamic Maximum Tension

“A splendid example of Argue's creative abilities, Dynamic Maximum Tension has the merit of bringing together the different facets and expressive richness of his latest compositions.”

Angelo Leonardi | All About Jazz (Italian)

Review: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Dynamic Maximum Tension

“A rich mix of dark sax improv, punchy soaring-brass riffing and seductive Gil Evans-worthy high-reeds dreamscapes.”

John Fordham | The Guardian

Album REVIEW: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Dynamic Maximum Tension

“Remarkable in its ambition, scope and sheer length, this is Argue’s crowning achievement to date.”

Keith Hoffman | The New York City Jazz Record

Darcy James Argue’s new album, Dynamic Maximum Tension

“Dynamic Maximum Tension was worth the wait. Despite its heady volume of historical information, it’s kinetic, gripping and modern — with a bounty of harmonic richness to boot.”

Morgan Enos | London Jazz News

Jazz New Release Round-Up

“Its dynamic range and flavours are wonderfully interspersed, whilst Cécile McLorin Salvant’s appearance on closer ‘Mae West: Advice’ is a cheeky moment of pure bliss.”

Barney Whittaker | Presto Music

Tension and release

“Outstanding album of completely modern music whose precision — whether of conception or execution — never excludes the human component.”

Richard Williams | The Blue Moment