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Formed in New York City in 1967 by two former students from the Mannes College musical conservatory, Wyatt Day (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Jon Pierson (trombone, vocals) and Maury Baker (drums). The line-up was expanded by the addition of Jonathan Raskin (bass, backing vocals, guitar) and Giovanni Papalia (lead guitar). After spending some time rehearsing in rural Vermont, the band added Bill Folwell to their ranks on double bass and trumpet. Coming to the attention of manager Arthur Gorson (who also managed Phil Ochs and Judy Collins) the band secured an audition for Jac Holzman’s Elektra label and secured a contract soon after.
The band’s self-titled debut album was recorded at Sunset Sound studios in Los Angeles and was produced by Paul Rothchild (noted for his work with The Doors, Love et al). The ARS NOVA album was certainly ground-breaking for its use of unconventional instrumentation and for taking influences from the worlds of rock, ethnic and classical music. One fan of the album was ROY WOOD of British band THE MOVE (who would record a cover of Ars Nova’s Fields of People on their 1970 album Shazam!) ARS NOVA was issued in 1968 to much critical acclaim, but the band’s line-up made it difficult for the music to translate well on the concert stage. Appearances opening for The Doors failed to boost the band’s fortunes and the initial line-up of the band broke up soon afterwards.
With Jonathan Raskin joining the band Rhinoceros, Day and Pierson gathered together a new line-up featuring Sam Brown (lead guitar), Joe Hunt (drums and percussion), Art Koening (bass), Jimmy Owens (trumpet) and Warren Bernhardt (keyboards). This revamped version of Ars Nova would record their final album, the equally imaginative SUNSHINE & SHADOWS, for Atlantic Records in late 1968 in New York City. The album release was inexplicably delayed for nearly a year by Atlantic Records and any momentum gained by further critical praise was lost. Increasing management problems also took their toll and Ars Nova disbanded soon after the release of SUNSHINE & SHADOWS.
This two-disc set gathers together all the recordings made by ARS NOVA for Elektra and Atlantic and has been newly re-mastered from the original first generation master tapes and features an illustrated booklet with new essay.
DISC ONE ARS NOVA – RE-MASTERED RELEASED AS ELEKTRA EKS 74020 IN 1968
DISC TWO SUNSHINE AND SHADOWS – RE-MASTERED RELEASED AS ATLANTIC SD 8221 IN 1969