A 13 year old Bruce Cockburn fan, Martin Tielli went to his very first concert at Convocation Hall, University of Toronto. It was at this time he decided to become a musician. In Cockburn's band were Jon Goldsmith and Hugh Marsh.
In 1992, Hugh Marsh was asked by Intrepid Records to record The River, for the album Back to the Garden: A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. He was joined by long-time compatriots Jonathan Goldsmith and Rob Piltch; Mary Margaret O'Hara was to be the vocalist. Meanwhile, Martin Tielli of the Rheostatics was playing lead guitar in Chris Tait's band “Big Faith,” with whom Hugh often played. When Mary Margaret couldn't do the Joni Mitchell song, Hugh asked Martin to sing it. On the album the group was called “Hugh Marsh and Friends.” The song was improvised live in the studio a few times; a favorite take was picked and embellished with minimal overdubs.
Ralph Benmergui liked the track so much, he asked the group to perform it live on his show “Friday Night” on CBC (1993). Again, they improvised a new version with no rehearsal (intentionally). Afterwards, in the green room, the four decided they should record an album together. The performance was later chosen for the “Friday Night with Ralph Benmergui” season highlights show.
During nights on off hours at a jingle studio, they wrote and recorded Circo under the moniker Nick Buzz. A song or more a night, from scratch to finished – again based on live improvisations. This, and the absence of any drummer or percussionist, were the band's only mandate. Tielli also saw it as a chance to put down his guitar and focus on just singing. The album was released in 1996 through Dark Light Music. It was re-released in 2002 by Six Shooter Records, with the music magazine Chart calling it a “virtually unheard-of 1996 classic.”
There were no Circo promotional tours. The band did not play live.
Until 2003. The four got together again to perform four songs by Arnold Schoenberg for Andrew Burashko's Art of Time Ensemble project at the Glenn Gould Theatre in Toronto. These songs were recorded and became Arnold Schoenberg and the Berlin Cabarets, the second album in Martin's Subscription Series, released in 2004 on Six Shooter Records.
Although they performed together off and on with Art of Time, Nick Buzz as a group would not play live again until October 2010, when they were asked to perform at a fundraiser for Loop Gallery, at Lula Lounge in Toronto. That led to a series of concerts at Lula over the next few months. Which led to more new songs and the notion of an album was inevitable.
Thus was born A Quiet Evening at Home, which may be anything but... Songs about matadors, sub-aqueous royalty and an enlightened Italian mutation sit along side meditations on winter in the Canadian wilderness and the Jaques Brel classic Ne Me Quitte Pas.
In spite of (or perhaps due to) their avant-garde leanings and sporadic output, the band has achieved cult status. Even with decades between releases, the talented eccentrics of Nick Buzz make strange and beautiful music that never fails to make an impression.
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HUGH MARSH is widely recognized as Canada’s leading improvisational violinist. He has performed and recorded with a wide variety of artists, including Bruce Cockburn, Loreena Mckennitt, Mary Margaret O'Hara and Peter Murphy. Marsh has also contributed to a long list of Hollywood film scores, notably with Hans Zimmer (Tears of the Sun, The Da Vinci Code) and Gregson Williams (Armageddon, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Number 23). He has released 4 solo albums, receiving a 2007 Juno nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for Hugmars. Marsh is a four time recipient of the Jazz Report award for violinist of the year and a two time winner of the National Jazz award for violinist of the year. He is currently touring as a third of the modern roots trio Three Metre Day.
JONATHAN GOLDSMITH is one of the country's most sought-after film and television composers. He's received numerous nominations and won four Gemini Awards, a Canadian Screen Award and a BAFTA. His film credits include Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz and Away From Her, Casino Jack, and Sex Traffic. As well, Jonathan has produced albums for a wide array of artists, including Bruce Cockburn, Jane Siberry, Michael Occhipinti, and Jenn Grant – as well as Martin and Hugh. Jonathan was a founding member of the Art of Time Ensemble, and continues to work with them as a performer, arranger and composer.
MARTIN TIELLI is best known as a guitarist and vocalist with the iconic Canadian band Rheostatics. Two of the Rheos' 11 studio albums, Whale Music and Melville, have continuously placed near the top of polls of the Best Canadian Albums. Since 2001, Martin has also released two solo albums, earning him widespread critical acclaim, and a limited-edition Subscription Series which included Nick Buzz's Berlin Cabarets. He has been a guest performer on numerous albums (Barenaked Ladies, Kevin Hearn, The Waltons, Jane Siberry) and has contributed music to several films, including Mercury Films' documentaries Act of God, Payback, and Watermark. Also a noted visual artist, Martin received a Juno nomination for album design for the Rheos' album The Story of Harmelodia.
ROB PILTCH is most famously associated with jazz-rock pioneers Blood, Sweat & Tears. He has performed and recorded with countless musicians, including Kim Mitchell, Shirley Eikhardt, Rita Coolidge, Michael Kaeshammer, John McDermott, Peter Murphy, Molly Johnson, Steven Page, and Sarah Slean. Rob has also contributed to numerous films and television shows, and was featured on the sound tracks of films such as Crash, IMAX Films' The Blue Planet, and Hubble: 3D. He's released several solo and ensemble recordings of original compositions, winning a Juno Award for Fables and Dreams with Dave Young and Phil Dwyer. Rob is also a member of the Art of Time Ensemble.