Tetra by Julian Argüelles
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1. Hugger Mugger
2. Yada Yada
3. Hurley Burley
4. Hocus Pocus
5. Nitty Gritty
8. Iron Pyrite
Official worldwide release date - October 16, 2015
Esteemed British saxophonist Julian Argüelles brings his working quartet, Tetra, to Whirlwind in an immersive, hour-long sequence of material written specifically with his colleagues in mind: Kit Downes (piano), Sam Lasserson (bass) and James Maddren (drums).
Known widely as an original member of seminal big band Loose Tubes, as well as for his outstanding compositional and performing involvement with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, smaller creative ensembles have always been close to Argüelles’ heart, previously recording with such luminaries as Mike Walker, Dave Holland, Martin France and the late John Taylor. In this new release, his respect for, and collaboration with, today’s eclectic strain of younger jazz musicians kindles a mutually imaginative spark with an equal emphasis on composition and freedom of improvisation, often melodically or texturally blurring those divisions.
Having already worked successfully with Downes and Maddren, Argüelles knew that they would possess an innate ability to connect with the complexities of his writing, as well as the spirit to soar extemporarily – and bassist Lasserson was discovered as the perfect rounder of this creative circle. Tetra have toured variously over the last three years, developing and shaping their alliance into this vibrant debut recording which ripples and sings with unpredictability and consummate musicianship.
At one stage conceived as a continuous suite (and, to some degree, still expressed that way in a live setting), the album’s eight tracks present an absorbing interconnected flow of grooves and ballads – from the rapid Portugeuse-influenced intensity of 'Hurley Burley', via smouldering 'Yada Yada' which increasingly surges to latitudinous, gritty tenor, through to the charming soprano playfulness of 'Hocus Pocus'. Argüelles’ writing revels in the thrill of diversity, the serene Spanish lilt of ten-minute 'Nitty Gritty' contrasting markedly with the wide-swinging ebullience of 'Iron Pyrite'; and beautiful, melodious 'Asturias' has its origins in the leader’s transcriptions of solo vocal folk music from north-west Spain.
Kit Downes’ summation of the bandleader’s music – “there’s a lot of room for being myself, and being creative in it” – speaks volumes about Argüelles’ empathy with the distinguished musicians he surrounds himself with, especially when he also challenges with so many technically tricksy grooves and ideas. As Maddren puts it, “His compositions are so strong… they really affect and influence the way you improvise, which I find really exciting.”
This is just the beginning, as Julian Arguëlles has ambitions for Tetra to evolve, looking to achieve music which is accessible yet multi-layered, with real depth and interest which might engage intellectually and/or emotionally. “First and foremost, I’m an improviser, and this is a band I feel very comfortable with.”
"The sturdy foundation established by his younger colleagues allows Arguelles room to swoop and soar on tenor as he combines a born improviser’s sense of adventure with a huge, burnished tone and an easy fluency rooted in years of experience... an excellent album that impresses with the quality of both the writing and the playing."
★★★★½ The Jazzmann
"Rich with inventive elegance and palpable atmosphere."
★★★★ MOJO Magazine (Top 10 albums of 2016 )
"Freewheeling jazz ventures packed with striking compositions... vibrant..."
★★★★ The Guardian
"Four consummate musicians... Tetra is a burst of golden sunshine."
Bebop spoken Here
"Julian Argüelles reminds us just how much he can shine in smaller settings. In the fine company of pianist Kit Downes, Sam Lasserson on double bass and James Maddren on drums, his playing is purposeful yet lyrical."
★★★★ The Scotsman
"[Argüelles] is constantly pushing himself, searching for new melodies, new ideas, new paths to the harmonic waterfall."
★★★★ The Irish Times
"It’s a very fine album indeed, characterised by sophisticated and heartfelt compositions which then urge similarly energised playing."
"It's all really rather splendid."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"...Argüelles unfurls supple and shifting melodic contours that never quite follow expectations."
“Argüelles presents as an innovative and expressive saxophonist who knows his game and how to grab the attention of the listener.”
Musik an Sich
"A fine recording... This working quartet has operated collectively for the last three years and an integral part of the winning formula is the individual chemistry between leader and pianist"
★★★★ UK Vibe
"This is great music from a great band."
Sandy Brown Jazz
"It’s one passage after the other of intense lyricism, with scenes shifting between a smoky film-noir, a statuesque austerity bordering on formal dance, the rapid-fire pulsing of musicians pushing all-in on the bet that their rhythmic attack is the strongest hand at the table, rambling solos that stretch and contract the distance between melodicism and a sense of humor, or the bop and catch fire of modern straight-ahead."
Bird Is The Worm
"Songs that get inside your head and captivate."
"Fabulous exciting jazz that's sonically committed to tradition and yet so fresh that you almost have to pull up your collar!"
"Constant shifts in tempo keep this album very lively and organic."
Sound and Image
"Dynamic with deftly executed tempo changes and improvisatory touches."
"An excellent album… Deserves to be widely heard."
"Complex compositions and folk inspired pieces that create space for soloists to stretch out."