theBABAorchestra - Another Ride on the Elephant Slide

theBABAorchestra is a Los Angeles based 17-piece experimental big band performing original new instrumental works by composer, conductor, and bandleader [Lauren] Elizabeth Baba.  Amidst intricately woven melodies and massive brass textures are subtly creeping rock grooves and a generally dark ambience; creative music drawing from free jazz, avant-garde, drone-rock, and Middle Eastern folk.

“Another Ride on the Elephant Slide” delivers an emotionally powerful and immersive listening experience through Baba’s complex and thoughtful compositional voice: layers of driving rhythms and esoteric melodies intertwined with an intuitive play on timing and expectation.  Produced and conceptualized by Baba, this debut album was recorded live in the recording studio – an un-doctored real-time performance – and will leave you with an unforgettable sonic palette; capturing moments of vulnerability, depth and introspection.

As one of the up-and-coming female big band composers and bandleaders, Baba has been gaining recognition on various fronts; she received the 2012 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award for her work 144, a commission from West Ranch High School to compose a new work t.i.m.e. [the immediate measure (of) energy], and Idaho State University and other educational institutes have purchased selections from theBABAorchestra’s repertoire to feature in their jazz concert programs.

In the next few months, theBABAorchestra will not only be releasing their complete repertoire of published scores and parts but also a series of music videos from their live show earlier this year, part of the Angel City Jazz Festival’s Jazz Night.  theBABAorchestra has been featured at many Los Angeles venues such as Blue Whale, Art Share LA, Bootleg Theater, and was recently invited to headline in the critically-acclaimed CalArts Wild Beast Concert Series.  “Another Ride on the Elephant Slide” has been premiered weekly since it’s release on Something Else!, KBGA’s experimental jazz radio program.

theBABAorchestra moves beyond conventional jazz by bringing an inventive, compelling, and untraditional take on large ensemble music to Los Angeles’ burgeoning jazz underground.

“Lauren Elizabeth Baba wants to disabuse anyone of the notion that all L.A. jazz is of the smooth persuasion.” — Bobby Reed, DownBeat, Editors’ Picks December 2017

“This is jazz that looks to the future—not the past. [theBABAorchestra] reflect[s] a 21st-century sensibility that combines jazz with a wonderful range of inspirations from contemporary classical and experimental sounds to rock, pop and world music. Lauren [has] used CalArts’s fertile mix of musical tradition and experimentation to nourish fresh ideas and extravagant new sounds.”  — David Roitstein, Chair of the California Institute of the Arts Jazz Program, 2017

“They’ve managed to squeeze 17 musicians onto the small stage, and they are playing jazz, or some derivative of it. [theBABAorchestra] responds to [Lauren’s] precise gestures with a whirlwind of texture and rhythm. There are surprising plot developments within the music, moments of curious spaciousness rudely pushed aside by something more sinister.”  — Gary Fukushima, LA Weekly, 2017

“theBABAorchestra … sculpts forms of expression that aren’t ever going to be considered a conventional medium.  The harmonic force this experimental big band generates is pretty thrilling…it’s especially enjoyable when they harness the strength of their numbers and stir up a storm.” — Bird is the Worm, 2017


Photo & Video by Mehdi Hassine