Indigo Invention Group
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Indigo Invention Group


Band Jazz Classical


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Boston Globe"

To watch Hans Spencer Indigo perform and tell stories with his 12-piece ensemble, the Indigo Invention Group, is to experience a children’s picture book for adults, where the music takes the place of the visuals.

"I want to paint pictures with words and notes," says Indigo, 30. "People hang onto the images as they hear the music."

For the music, Indigo brings a solid background in classical saxophone and composition combined with an interest in the experimental jazz of artists such as Miles Davis. The weird and whimsical stories, however, come from some other place entirely.

"The characters just sort of popped into my head," he says. "I was riding my bike a lot, and working as an office assistant at a company that was dealing with a lot inventors. The main themes that I wanted to cover were flight and sound. So characters that were made of sound and the idea of bikes flying around just all came out of that. Plus, I grew up listening to a lot of Pink Floyd, so I liked the idea of having long pieces that have a story, or having the lyrics at the beginning, and then the music just sort of goes from there."

Indigo composed propulsive toe-tapping Big Band jazz pieces for flugelhorns, saxophones and trombones to go with the storyline, and presented the whole thing as part of his these recital at New England Conservatory.

Now with a master’s degree and working as a music teacher in the Cambridge public schools, Indigo continues to write stories and music and perform his work live, bringing the 12-piece band he formed the conservatory to such venues as Blacksmith House in Harvard Square, TheaterZone Festival in Chelsea, and Lizard Lounge in Cambridge.
- David Wildman

"Boston Herald"

Laced with "hope machines" and the "quest for quockets" (intelligent silent places), Indigo’s stories generate a whimsy that’s reflected in the music. "I’m interested in creating stories that are heard rather than read," he said.

Though the music for "Dartcycle" is a groove that swoops upward like the story’s subject, Indigo said the band’s music "doesn’t attempt to paint a literal picture. More often, the piece inspires the story."
- Tristram Lozaw

"All About"

Indigo knows how to spin a delightful yarn... there are some thoroughly affecting sequences amid Indigo’s wittily conceived diatribes. - Glenn Astarita


First Storybook


Feeling a bit camera shy


Indigo Invention Group is unlike any other band. Full of imagination, its performances invite audiences into a vast world of music and ideas. Its unique sound gives props to jazz history yet still pushes the limits of genre without alienating. They groove as hard as any rock band; they improvise on par with the best jazz musicians; their compositions have the depth and sophistication of classical chamber music; and they spin a unique and humorous story all the while.

At the helm of this twelve-piece jazz orchestra stands multi-talented maverick Hans Indigo, who started the group four years ago as part of his graduate work at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Studying composition with legend Bob Brookmeyer and saxophone with tenor king Jerry Bergonzi led him to refine his style to be unabashedly melodic and flowing. As what had been his Master’s degree recital orchestra began playing local festivals and clubs, he christened the project an Invention Group. He then began telling stories and layering pre-recorded sound scores throughout his ebullient and sometimes haunting compositions. Since then, a growing audience consistently leaves their performances uplifted and inspired by Indigo’s tapestry of spontaneity, feeling and imagination.

The band lives up to its name in more ways than one. Where "invention" means a kind of musical composition, Indigo’s Group weaves dazzling improvisations through his carefully composed creations. The same word connotes a new device, and Indigo spins a yarn about bicycle messengers escaping noise pollution with the discovery of silent living beings called quockets. These characters connect to a larger narrative centering around ideas about sound and, of course, inventions.

Initially trained in classical composition, Indigo was later deeply affected by the music of Ellington, Basie, Thad Jones, Maria Schneider, and eventual mentor Brookmeyer. This propelled him to follow in their footsteps and develop a jazz orchestra. In the meantime, he created his stories as a solo act with computer and saxophone and brought it to Boston’s performance art scene. Influenced as much by his peers in theater and dance as by the work of Laurie Anderson and other blenders of spoken word and music, the next natural step was to combine the stories and multi-media elements with his jazz compositions. The result is a scintillating mixture of media and music that is rich in history and easily appeals to wide audiences.

The eleven other Invention Group musicians each add their own unique and masterful approach to inventing music in the moment. Individually, they’ve done everything from the Boston Pops to the Big and Phat Jazz Orchestra to CBC Radio Broadcasts. They are all leaders of creative projects of their own including Guaranteed Swahili, Pendulabellum, Bath Union Hope, the Joe Mulholland Sextet, and many more. Indigo shines an increasingly luminous spotlight on their talents with arrangements of their music drawn from their own projects.
Whether it’s Indigo’s original story-laden compositions, arrangements of music by band members, or one of a growing set of 80’s pop music covers, an evening with the Indigo Invention Group is sure to enthrall any audience.