NOW Orchestra Albums

NOW Society has partnered with CD Baby to offer you the opportunity to download or purchase from our impressive catalogue of improvisational music.

Ever heard a comic book performed? 

A Graphic Novel interpreted by creative musicians?

Composed by Gary Wildeman, Onomatopoeia is a 48-page comic book musical score that provides listeners with a direct way to relate to improvised music. The comic features onomatopoeic syllables to express the adventures of two iconic characters. The Onomatopoeia release contains the comic book, CD live recording and a digital download with audio and pdf.

Animal Tales

This recording is the first release by the NOW Orchestra on its own record label, NOW Orchestra Records. The CD features music from the concerts played by three great incarnations of the ensemble.


The NOW Orchestra is keen on working with guest artists, either workshop or residence style. Past collaborators have included René Lussier (Le Tour du Bloc) and George Lewis (The Shadowgraph Series). These previous projects cast the outside musician/composer as a featured guest. Pola puts Marilyn Crispell in the role of an integrated guest -- which probably explains why the album is billed to the NOW Orchestra with Crispell, and not the other way around, as was the case with the Lussier and Lewis projects.

The Shadowgraph Series

By the time of this recording, the Canadian-based NOW Orchestra had established itself as perhaps the leading (and one of the few) free-style jazz-oriented large groups in North America. Boasting some exceptional talent, such as pianist Paul Plimley, cellist Peggy Lee, and trumpeter Rob Blakeslee, the Orchestra combines an affinity for sophisticated compositions with its propensity to work with acclaimed guest musicians. This is the orchestra's third recording with trombonist George Lewis, whose extraordinary improvisational skills place him in a singular category of world-class soloists.


WOWOW was recorded live on November 14 and 15, 1997, as the New Orchestra Workshop (or NOW Orchestra) was celebrating its 20th anniversary with a concert series in hometown Vancouver, Canada. Three new works were created for the occasion, all of them featured (in part) on this CD.

Le Tour du Bloc

In early 1995, Montreal avant-garde guitarist René Lussier flew to Vancouver, bringing with him drummer Pierre Tanguay, to meet with the NOW Orchestra. Recorded in the studio over two days, Le Tour du Bloc (Around the Block) is proof that the orchestra learned all of Lussier's tricks. This CD makes a great companion to the guitarist's previous album Le Corps de L'ouvrage, only expanding the sound palette, thanks to the 15-piece ensemble.

Barry Guy and the NOW Orchestra

Bassist Barry Guy teamed up with the 13-piece New Orchestra Workshop (NOW) for this difficult but sometimes wondrous set of avant-garde music. The 16-minute "Study" makes excellent use of an ensemble drone and space in building up and releasing tension, while the 52-minute "Witch Gong Game II/10" is quite menacing and sometimes even scary.