The Le Boeuf Brothers, along with string-driven JACK Quartet, pack emotion, suspense and musical intricacy into their seven-minute “Alkaline,” the second track on their October 2016 imaginist. The grand orchestral odyssey opens with a peak – the strings sonically blast off with the intensity of an Alfred Hitchcock climax. The mood quickly calms to a single meandering violin that carries an untrusting vibe, something that employs just enough squeaks to prevent listeners from settling into a zone where the music is background noise. Then follow moments of hard-bop, percussion-laden jams that are equally entrancing chamber-jazz.
Identical twins Remy (sax) and Pascal (piano) Le Boeuf enlisted tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel, bassists Ben Street and Martin Nevin and drummers Justin Brown and Peter Kronreif, among others, to construct a concept album unlike any other. The term itself, imaginist, draws inspiration from an early 20th-century Russian poetry movement, of the same name, “characterized by sequences of arresting images and long chains of metaphors.”
imaginist follows an assortment of past records entitled In Praise of Shadows, House Without a Door and Remixed, which have been deemed somewhat experimental in the jazz world, and completely unique. imaginist also features “A Dream,” based on Franz Kafka’s short story. The notable Shakespearean actor Paul Whitworth narrates the existential tale centered on Joseph K., an everyman who find himself in a graveyard watching his name getting carved into a tombstone.
Separately, Remy and Pascal Le Boeuf have remarkable resumes: Remy has received commissions from the Jerome Foundation and Chamber Music America and Pascal earned a commission from Harvard while pursuing a doctorate in music composition at Princeton as a Naumburg doctoral fellow.
The high-profile accomplishments began between 2002-04, when the Santa Cruz natives were selected to play the main stage at Monterey Jazz Fest as members of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. Since then the brothers have teamed up and developed something more potent, and earned even more honors, including Independent Music Awards for Best Jazz Album and Best Eclectic Album in 2015, a Van Lier Fellowship, an Astral Grant from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and first place in the 2010 International Songwriting Competition. With Monday’s outdoor benefit they’ll pay back – and pay forward – some of that original Jazz Fest love.
MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL BENEFIT 6:30pm Monday, Nov. 7. Poppy Hills Golf Course, 3200 Lopez Road, Pebble Beach. $75. 233-3715,www.montereyjazzfestival.org