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Ars Nova was a rock/classical hybrid that formed in New York in 1967 around students of the Mannes College of Music. The band initially comprised Wyatt Day on guitar, keyboards, and vocals; Jon Pierson on trombone and vocals; Bill Folwell on trumpet and vocals; Jonathan Raskin on bass, vocals, and guitar; Giovanni Papalia on guitar, and Maury Baker on percussion. Elektra producer Paul A. Rothchild took credit for the discovery, and after signing them, called them "the most exciting thing since the Doors." The band released its debut album in April 1968 and was profiled in the June 28, 1968, issue of LIFE magazine, but the hype didn't appear to help. The album failed to chart, and the band reorganized around Day, Pierson, guitarist Sam Brown, trumpeter Jimmy Owens, bassist Art Koenig, and drummer Joseph Hunt. There was a second album, Sunshine & Shadows, in June 1969.