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Julian Arg├╝elles Partita Review

Album. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

Latest offering from eclectic UK saxophonist in cahoots with Tim Berne's rhythm...

Martin Longley 2004

Leaving London for a cottage in the Scottish countryside might make many musicians calm down, but Julian Argüelles is becoming harder instead.

His wiry, serpentine sense of composition often sounds like it's flecked by wild chance occurrences. Could this fierce character be a reaction against Highland tranquility, or perhaps the influence of his US cohorts, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tom Rainey? Both of these players are normally found within an extreme setting, concerned with the outer limits of tune-rooted jazz.

In 2004, this trio toured on both sides of the Atlantic, recording in NYC a year later. Oddly, the pieces become shorter and shorter as this disc progresses. The first seven tracks average out at around five
minutes, all penned by Argüelles, then the remaining eight are not much longer than a minute apiece, and invariably improvised. This has a very distinct effect on the pacing, framing the later pieces as miniatures, and imparting a sense of importance to their fleeting events.

Even the longer works have no loose moments, their themes driven fast, their solos pointed and punchy. The trio is governed by an extreme sense of purpose, but there are also a few instances of suspended reflection, as Julian overdubs his own creamy horn section. Otherwise,
he's a bullish tenorman, attaining repeatedly high levels of expression, as Rainey finds new places to fit his light-wristed fills, whilst Formanek acts as a deeply resonant fulcrum.

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