Thrash Jazz at CalArts: Wild, Loud and Louder Music from Stupid Man Suit

During Wednesday’s lunchtime concert at CalArts, the strains of thrash jazz emanated throughout the Institute. The music was unapologetically loud—but that’s not at all surprising considering the genre has roots in both the free jazz and punk rock traditions.

Saxophone player Ryan Parrish, currently a first-year MFA student in The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, formed the band Stupid Man Suit last year with guitarist Max Gaultieri (BFA 4), Jake Rosenzweig (MFA 2) on bass, Mike Lockwood (MFA 2) on drums and Matty Harris (Music MFA 10) on saxophone.

Parrish adopted the band’s moniker from an exchange of dialogue in the 2001 sci-fi/fantasy/drama Donnie Darko, where a teenager is plagued by dreams of a large bunny that encourages him to commit crime. (Donnie: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit? Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?)

The music itself is largely improvised, Parrish notes, with the players adding to or playing off of a basic melody. The video above is the composition “Eye-Gouging Heat” by Parrish that was inspired by a September 2010 heatwave in Valencia. The video below is a piece by Harris titled “Anal Patriot Thunder.”

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