Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble, the “flexible and innovative hybrid orchestra that celebrates living composers, reimagines all genres of music and collaborates with a wide range of diverse musical guests, composers, choreographers, dancers and mixed media artists,” has exploded onto the city’s eclectic music scene over the past five years, captivating audiences with their innovative fusions of genre-bending, orchestral performances, and collaborations with the highest levels of artistry.
In the wake of the passing of iconic singer-songwriter Bill Withers last week, Nu Deco Ensemble has prepared a new, live video of their stunning exploration of his catalog, “A Bit of Bill: An Overture to Bill Withers”, originally performed at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Center in April of 2019. Today, Live For Live Music is thrilled to share this incredible piece with readers everywhere.
As the suite’s arranger and Nu Deco Ensemble’s co-artistic director/co-founder Sam Hyken explains, “Bill Withers to me is one of the quintessential great American songwriters who has had great impact on musicians from across the musical spectrum. This work, whose subtitle is ‘An overture to Bill Withers’, was created as if it was it could an introduction to a biopic or larger tribute. And it’s just a small sampling of his catalog and legacy.”
Adds Jacomo Bairos, the suite’s conductor and Hyken’s fellow Nu Deco co-artistic director/co-founder, “The ability to honor Bill Withers’ legendary, emotionally positive and wide-breadth musical output through symphonic and orchestral traditions brought such joy to all of us. His timeless messages mixed with his beautiful and lyrical melodies converted to our hybrid ensemble by Sam Hyken created a new, uplifting take on this classic artist. We are proud and grateful to be able to celebrate his legacy and contribution to all of humanity, especially now, as all around the world we lean on each other.”
The sprawling, 10-minute overture, which Hyken and Bairos arranged along with Aaron Lebos, Jason Matthews, and Armando Lopez, begins with elements of “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” and moves through musical homages to other Withers classics like “Use Me”, “Kissing My Love”, “Just The Two of Us”, and “Lovely Day”, often mixing more than one at a time, before building to a climax that cleverly plays on “Lean On Me”.
Watch Nu Deco Ensemble perform “A Bit of Bill: An Overture to Bill Withers” below:
Nu Deco Ensemble – “A Bit of Bill: An Overture To Bill Withers”
[Video: Nu Deco Ensemble]
Since the project’s inception, Nu Deco Ensemble has caught the attention of the music world at large via their innovative, stylistically fluid collaborations with artists like Wyclef Jean, Cory Henry, Jacob Collier, Hurray for the Riff Raff, PJ Morton, and more.
In November, Nu Deco Ensemble released its self-titled debut album. Produced in full by Kishi Bashi, the 8-track album includes genre-bending collaborations, re-imaginings of artists such as Outkast and Daft Punk and new music by some of today’s most exciting living composers, including Nicholas Omicioli and Andy Akiho, among others. Nu Deco Ensemble is available to stream below.
Nu Deco Ensemble – Nu Deco Ensemble [Full Album]
For more information about Nu Deco Ensemble, head here.