Monday, August 30, 2010

Julian Arguelles - Ground Rush (Clean Feed, 2010)

Tenor saxophonist Julian Arguelles leads a tight modern trio, playing state of the art in post-bop jazz on this very well done album also featuring Michael Formanek on bass and Tom Rainey on drums. The trio embarks from the area that Sonny Rollins explored in his great trio albums Live at the Village Vanguard, Way Out West and Freedom Suite. They take this vibe and push it further into the realm where post-bop and avant-garde meet and mingle, yet the music remains quite accessible and exciting throughout. "Mr. MC" opens with a nod to the Coltrane classic "Mr. P.C." playing fast and well integrated free-bop, collectivism at work as the band plays very well together. Thick bass and a medium tempo usher in "Fife" before Argulles saxophone picks up the pace in a strong yet controlled manner. He uses some well placed honks and squeals to accentuate "Filthy Rich" building a raw saxophone solo over complex drumming. A touch of funk and blues enlivens "Blood Eagle" which is a medium tempoed spacious performance, featuring nice teamwork in its collective improvisation. They slow down to a spare and haunted ballad tempo for "From One JC to Another" which has a yearning and emotional feel with long low sax tones and probing bass. "Buleria" is one of the highlights of the album building nicely from a slow opening to a section of growling saxophone over loping bass and drums. The subtle dynamics that are built by Formanek and Rainey keep the music continually fresh and playful, they build to a fast paced collective improvisation and then out. "Redman" wraps up the album nicely with strong deep saxophone and drums, free and exciting with a deft bass and drums section. This well integrated trio sounds like the have been playing for a long time, but I think they just came together for this session. Hopefully they can become a regular unit since the empathy they have for each other and the music is very impressive.Ground Rush - amazon.com

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