NPR logo Buckminster Fuller, The Jazz Muse?

Buckminster Fuller, The Jazz Muse?

A model of the Geodesic Dome House, designed by American inventor Buckminster Fuller. Keystone/Getty Images hide caption

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Keystone/Getty Images

A model of the Geodesic Dome House, designed by American inventor Buckminster Fuller.

Keystone/Getty Images

The last time I caught Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, the buzzed-about 18-piece big band, it played a newish tune called "Dymaxion." To hear the composer and conductor Argue tell it, it was inspired by inventor Buckminster Fuller's overarching brand for his creations, a portmanteau for DYnamic MAXimum tensION. At his latest show, the band didn't play "Dymaxion," but it did premiere three pieces by other composers: David T. Little, Nicole Lizee and Vijay Iyer. It's the first time the band has ever played music by anyone other than Argue. And in turn, Argue wrote a suite for Little's eight-piece Newspeak ensemble. The folks at WQXR/Q2, the classical music public radio station in New York City, were on hand to record and broadcast the show live. And now the recording is online, for your listening. [WQXR: Shhh...Secret News]

Among the unjustly underappreciated jazz records of 2010 was Sympathetic Vibrations, by a band called the Dymaxion Quartet. At the time, I had heard of exactly one of the four musicians in the band — tenor saxophonist Mark Small, who plays in Darcy James Argue's Secret Society — but I was quite impressed by what I heard. Leader Gabe Gloege, the drummer, explained what is "Dymaxion" about this band to Josh Jackson for The Checkout; that conversation and studio performance is now an NPR Music Favorite Session. Personally, I could take or leave the conceptual frame; I like this band because Gloege has written some quite nice, intricate-but-not-wonky tunes, featuring some happy swing and two-horn interplay. You can hear the whole album at the band's Bandcamp page, and three of the standout tunes are documented here. [NPR Music: Dymaxion Quartet: Bucky-ing The Trend]

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Also, here is Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car, just because:

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