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"Debris play a ruthlessly modernistic sort of music, concentrated and focused, intent on undermining the barrier between composition and improvisation by any means necessary. Their music is not so much unprecedented as derived from ideal events that never actually happened on Earth, like if Eric Dolphy had lived to study with Edgard Varese, and then met Jimi Hendrix."
Michael Bloom, Boston Rock

Who are we? | Collaborations | Special Projects | Past Performances

Who are we?

Debris is one of Boston’s most prominent groups committed to the leading edge of new music. Performing and recording since 1986, our music fuses modern approaches to composition with the energy and textural innovations of jazz, rock, and improvisation.

(Click here for a high-res version of this photo for printing.)
Debris quartet press photo
photo: Matt Samolis

Since Fall 1997, Debris has been a quartet (L to R:)

Steve Norton: soprano, alto and baritone saxophones; bass clarinet; game calls
Bob Ross: electric basses, loops, audio collages
Jeff Hudgins: soprano and alto saxophones; Bb clarinet
Curt Newton: drumset, percussion

More detailed bio info this way...

March 1997 feature article and interview from Boston Globe


Debris is enthusiastically collaborative, seeking to establish community with like-minded musicians and artists. To this end, we have worked with:


Performance artists

Special Projects


Hubris is an evolving work that combines spoken word—mostly by Arthor—and theatre with Debris’ music. It has been performed twice to date: first at Mobius in February 1995, with Gretchen Bowder and guest saxophonist David Reider, and a second version also at Mobius in March 1997.

Arthor’s description of Hubris:

Hubris is about what one does when life, as it invariably does, reduces the best laid plans to rubble. It’s about picking up the pieces and going on though one can’t go on. It’s about being serious and not-serious at the same time. It’s about loving all the wrinkles.

The unifying theme of Hubris is the ambiguity inherent in all forms of language. It is an attempt to address the issue of meaning in a way that acknowledges how tenuous and subjective meaning is, while at the same time stoutly refusing to completely abandon the temptation of meaning something. Know what I mean? It is about trying and failing, about expectation and actuality (if there is such a thing). Less explicitly, it is also about adultery, trust, atonement and blasphemy.

Hubris II was reviewed by Bob Blumenthal in the Boston Globe in March of 1997; that review is reprinted here.

The complete libretto/program of Hubris II is posted to one of Arthor’s Web pages here.

Tag Teams

Tag Teams are invitational sessions based on structured improvisations. They’re an opportunity to collaborate with many in Boston’s vital improvisation community, as well as a chance to perform with visiting artists. Tag Teams have been part of our series at Cambridge MA’s Bookcellar Cafe from 1994-1997. Tag team guests have included (and we extend our thanks to):

  • Peter Warren
  • Tom Zicarelli
  • Laura Allen
  • Jason Rogers
  • Tom Plsek
  • Ricky Hansen
  • RJ Rabin
  • Nate McBride
  • Tomohiko Gondo
  • Dan Fox
  • Mark Burdon
  • Matt Samolis
  • Mark McGrain
  • Kevin Drumm
  • Todd Colburn
  • debris&dance

    With dancers Peggy Florin and Felice Wolfzahn, debris&dance creates works that encompass music and movement, both improvised and composed/choreographed, as well as spoken word and random scraps of theatre.

    This project was conceived at the 1994 New England Artist’s Congress in North Adams, MA, where Debris and Peggy Florin were among the showcased performers. We each identified sympathetic elements in the other’s work, and began discussing the possibility of collaboration. Peggy enlisted Felice Wolfzahn, with whom she worked at Bennington College. Our June ’95 debut at North Bennington VT’s No.BIAS Gallery was “Captivating!” (Edmund Mooney, Bennington Banner)

    debris&dance has since performed at the Inside/Out series at Jacob’s Pillow in Beckett MA, the Ruby Slipper Productions showcase at the Middle East in Cambridge MA, and at Mobius in February ’96 under the aegis of the NoBIAS at Mobius presentation.

    Got an interesting idea for a project or collaboration?
    Please contact us!

    Selected Past Performances

    “[A] spirit of dancelike celebration informs their performances…
    By the end of the set Debris seemed to have organized every sound in the room as music.”
    Jon Garelick, The Boston Phoenix

  • Texaco New York Jazz Festival, NYC
  • Earwhacks! Festival, Detroit MI
  • KTRU Avant-Jazz Festival, Houston TX
  • New Music Across America Festival, Portland ME
  • New England Artists Congress II, North Adams MA
  • Clubs
  • The Knitting Factory, NYC
  • Hot House, Chicago IL
  • The Buttonwood Tree, Middletown CT
  • The Middle East, Cambridge MA
  • Colleges
  • Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA
  • New England Conservatory, Boston MA
  • Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson NY
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester MA
  • Gallery &
  • Mobius, Boston MA
  • Gargoyle Mechanique Laboratory, NYC
  • Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston MA
  • Real Art Ways, Hartford CT

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