One night at Subculture, NYC
On the heels of two albums praised by DownBeat Magazine and JazzTimes as innovative, creative, and inspiring, jazz quintet Cowboys & Frenchmen will record their new album live on Sunday, September 29 at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker St., New York City. Joining bandleaders alto/baritone saxophonist Owen Broder and alto saxophonist/flutist Ethan Helm will be pianist Addison Frei, bassist Ethan O’Reilly, and drummer Matt Honor. New concert time is 4 p.m.
The recorded performance will serve as the material for the next album from Cowboys & Frenchmen, Our Highway, capturing contemporary America through the perspective of traveling jazz musicians, inspired by five years of touring throughout the United States. And like a highway, the 45-minute musical experience is a non-stop journey through communities, opinions, and modes of expression blended together. Original compositions inspired by folk songs, free jazz, and R&B are layered atop one another, revealing similarities between the cultures that created them, and creating an overarching narrative of American music. As traveling artists, Cowboys & Frenchmen are witness to a vision of our country that contradicts the growing narrative of irreparable political division. Our highways are threads sewn through the entirety of our national tapestry, every inch of which illustrates communities open to new ideas and hungry for artistic expression that reflects their own American journey.
The music of Cowboys & Frenchmen is a new take on instrumentation, composition, and orchestration for the jazz quintet. The New York City-based ensemble released its debut album Rodeo in 2015 on Outside In Music, which garnered terrific reviews and enjoyed top placement on radio charts. Their 2017 release, Bluer Than You Think, was produced by Grammy Award winning producer Ryan Truesdell, and received a four-star review from DownBeat Magazine. Cowboys & Frenchmen was a featured presenter at the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance Conference. They performed at the D.C. Jazz Festival in 2016 as finalists in the inaugural D.C. JazzPrix Competition, and again in 2017 as a featured artist. They were also selected to perform at Umbria Jazz Festival’s 2017 Conad Jazz Contest, and were semi-finalists in the 2018 M-Prize. The inspiration for the band name is a short film by David Lynch, “The Cowboy and the Frenchmen.” The film is a Western, but with a unique interpretation of the classic genre. Similarly, the music of Cowboys & Frenchmen has one foot firmly planted in genre, while the other is busy trying to kick down the genre’s door.
Owen Broder is a saxophonist and bandleader based in New York City. The debut album from his American Roots Project, Heritage (ArtistShare®, 2018), earned him the title of Debut Artist of the Year from NPR’s Francis Davis and a 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. DownBeat Magazine called it a “transcendental work of art.” His quintet Cowboys & Frenchmen actively tours the country and received wide acclaim for its 2017 sophomore recording Bluer Than You Think, including a four-star rating from DownBeat Magazine. Broder is a member of the Anat Cohen Tentet and has performed internationally with artists including Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project, Trio Globo, and YouTube sensation Postmodern Jukebox. He was a member of the pit orchestra for the German tour of “Grease,” he appeared with the bands in David Bowie’s “Lazarus,” and the Tony Award® winning musical “Tootsie,” and he originated the woodwind chair in the off-Broadway production “For the Last Time” and the US premiere tour of “The Bodyguard The Musical.” Broder grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and also has hometown ties to Detroit and Washington DC. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music.
New York-based saxophonist and composer Ethan Helm makes music on the boundaries of familiarity in jazz and other genres. His work pushes the jazz tradition to mysterious and surreal places, casting new light on swing, blues, and expression to bring beautiful and overlooked details into relief.
Ethan leads the avant-garde quintet Wet Electric, which released its first album in November 2018, and co-leads the genre-hopping “Cowboys & Frenchmen,” with whom he has released two albums on the Outside in Music record label, garnering frequent radio play and a four-star review in Downbeat Magazine, as well as two U.S. tours. Helm composes and arranges for jazz ensembles (Michael Sarian’s Big Chabones, Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Shrine Big Band), indie rock groups (Louis Weeks, Stranger in the Alps), classical ensembles (American Composers Orchestra), and dance (Kathleen Helm, Francesca Lee). He has performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and throughout the United States and Canada with Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project and Brad Shepik’s Balkan Peppers. He was a featured presenter at the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, performing his suite, “Paul Desmond’s Sound,” with the Texas Tech University Jazz Ensemble. Ethan grew up in a musical family in Southern California, holds degrees from Eastman School of Music (BM) and New York University (MM), and is pursuing a PhD at NYU, researching jazz applications of classical music theory.