Rooted in original works spanning from the Celtic world, sextet Night Tree creates original music that borrows from the Swedish, Jewish and American folk tradition. Night Tree includes the dark resonance of the cello (McKinley James), baritone saxophone (Zach Mayer), and cajón meeting with the drones of accordion (Sunniva Brynnel) and intertwining with the soaring melodies of dueling fiddles (Lily Honigberg and Chris Overholser) and percussion (Julian Loida). Contrast is created with the replacement of the baritone saxophone with the soprano saxophone, adding another fiddle-like melodic instrument to the mix. Drawing from an unusually diverse mix of musical backgrounds, Night Tree has discovered a sound both colorfully and resonantly different while delving into the realm of harmonies and rhythm that range from edgy to inviting, both unheard of and timeless.
Named the 2016-2017 Wildcard Honors Ensemble at the New England Conservatory (NEC), Night Tree first began in a practice room starting with just fiddle, cajon, and accordion. It quickly expanded to include an additional fiddle player, cellist, and baritone saxophone. This creative and spiritually connected band held early rehearsals in complete darkness to have an unobscured focus on developing their musical and aural connection. These rehearsals guided them as they targeted each other’s individual sounds. Duos and trios formed within the ensemble, as well as building and molding the sound of the band. Rehearsals ranged from free improvisations to traditional Irish jig-to-reel sets and everything in between, as can be heard in their arrangement ‘Ships’, which surrounds two traditional tunes about actual ocean vessels with improvisational sections that depict a shipwreck.