"Led by saxophonist Ken Field, Revolutionary Snake Ensemble is a costumed funk/street beat improvisational brass band performing a unique blend of original and traditional music."
Sly funky tuneful avant garde jazz." - New York Music Daily
"They've pretty much modernized the traditional concept, and they've spun it into a singular sound that's very unique and very vibrant. They accelerated the norm. They went past the tried and true. They managed to do it all with a very distinct musical persona." - NPR's Morning Edition/Glenn Astarita
The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble... is a costumed funk/street beat improvisational brass band performing a unique blend of original and traditional music. Leader Ken Field is a longtime member of the modern music ensemble Birdsongs of the Mesozoic.
Their latest release, "Live Snakes" (Accurate Records 2014), was recorded in 2011 and 2013 in Boston, Brooklyn, & Manhattan, and documents four distinct incarnations of the highly mutable ensemble, with two sonically inventive remixes by Field thrown in for good measure. Adding to the deep pool of Boston talent that has sustained the RSE for more than two decades, "Live Snakes" features an extended family of players, including New Orleans tenor saxophone great Charles Neville and New York masters Josh Roseman (trombone), Kenny Wollesen (drums & percussion), and Matt Darriau (tenor sax & flute).
"Live Snakes" has already received rave reviews. CriticalJazz.com says it is "spectacular - a live release that will set your hair on fire!", and Downbeat called it "challenging, evocative, fun, and experimental - a high watermark for the group", and gave it an Editors' Pick.
The group's 2nd CD, Forked Tongue (Cuneiform Records 2008), spent 2 months on the CMJ North American jazz top 20 chart, peaking at #11, and appeared on Best of 2008 lists in the Village Voice, and in Georgia, Kansas, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, NY, Michigan, Ohio, and Estonia. The disc features unique treatments of music by Field, Ornette Coleman, Billy Idol, and others.
Notable Revolutionary Snake Ensemble performances have included the Krewe of Muses Mardi Gras Parade (New Orleans); Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; the Cambridge River Festival; Regattabar (Boston); the Central Square World's Fair; Tonic (NYC); the Somerville Theater; First Nights Boston, Providence, Fall River; the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston); the Brooklyn Academy of Music; the Puffin Cultural Forum; Tipitina's (New Orleans); Berklee Performance Center; and other venues.
From 2005-2009 the Snake Ensemble traveled by train five times from Boston to New Orleans, playing on board the Amtrak Crescent, to march with the Krewe of Muses in their annual Mardi Gras parade. The Ensemble can be heard on Parade of Numbers, an animated counting piece regularly aired on the television program Sesame Street.
RSE's debut release, Year of the Snake (Innova 2003), included music by Field, Sun Ra, John Scofield, James Brown, and others, and was listed as one of the top discs of the year on New York NPR affiliate WNYC, in the New Orleans Gambit Weekly, and on Radio Popolare in Milan, Italy.