Described as “one of New England’s most innovative ensembles” by Showcase Magazine, 35th Parallel has taken listeners on a sonic journey spanning more than two decades. Their new album Evolutia is the latest stop on this ever-evolving ride.
Founding members Gabe Halberg and Mac Ritchey have a long history of welcoming musicians into their circle and expanding the band’s sonic tapestry. Their latest release features acclaimed cellist Naseem Alatrash, and is the culmination of the duo’s long-held dream of collaborating with a world-class string player.
Ritchey and Halberg met in 2000 at a classical Indian concert where Halberg was performing and Ritchey was hosting. After the show the two made an instant connection — staying up half the night talking about music, carving out a new friendship, and discussing “the band” that they would be forming. They had yet to play a single note of music together.
In 2003 they released their debut album The Green Vine, which was described as “seductive from the first note to the last” by Seven Days. Their second album Crossing Painted Islands came out in 2006, featuring their expanded group the 35th Parallel MediterrAsian Jazz Ensemble — a rotating cast of performers bridging the musical traditions of the Middle East, India, and jazz.
In 2013 Ritchey met and played alongside cellist Naseem Alatrash, and not long after Naseem asked Ritchey and Halberg to join him for a concert at Redstar Union in Cambridge, MA. They performed to a packed house, the crowd was floored, and the musicians knew they had magic on their hands. It was clear that the next 35th Parallel recording would include Naseem.
As meticulous producers, the band took all the time they needed to craft this new work. They wrote, jammed, rewrote, recorded, and reworked — and adopted the motto “don’t push the river”. From this philosophy came Evolutia, a diligently sculpted album fueled by musical connection and improvisation, that in their hearts represents 35th Parallel’s most moving and impactful work to date.