Reviews that mention Steve Argüelles

October 6, 2016

Alban Darche

Pacific
Pépin & Plume P&P 004

By Ken Waxman

As serene and amicable as the word it describes, this session by French alto saxophonist Alban Darche is his salute to the polyphonic West Coast jazz of the 1950s. But like dramatists who recast an oft-told story in a new setting to point out the universality of the art, Darche’s Cool Jazz doesn’t copy the concepts advanced by the likes of Gil Evans, Lee Konitz and Paul Desmond.

Instead of re-recording some Cool Jazz classics, the CD consists of 10 Drache compositions played by a quintet consisting of some of Europe’s most accomplished young veterans: trumpeter Geoffroy Tamisier, trombonist Samuel Blaser, Jozef Dumoulin on piano and Fender Rhodes and drummer Steve Argüelles. Dumoulin’s electric keyboard is particularly important for like an iphone plugged into a stereo outlet its distinctive shimmers are prototypically contemporary not mid-20th Century This is especially obvious when a snatch of the original California-styled music is quoted on the sardonically-titled “Birth of the Coocool” and when other Cool school motifs are especially obvious on “Pacific 2, Fugue Nº3”. MORE

November 6, 2012

Benoît Delbecq

Crescendo in Duke
Nato 4375

François Houle

Genera

Songlines SGL 1595-2

François Houle/Benoît Delbecq

Because She Hoped

Songlines SGL 1592-2

By Ken Waxman

Paris-based, but as likely to turn up on North American as European sessions, pianist Benoît Delbecq is the very model of a cosmopolitan improviser. Often working with prepared piano and/or electronics, Delbecq specializes in cutting-edge interpretations, but his limpid playing also relates to a tradition that takes in Steve Lacy and through him Duke Ellington. MORE

March 15, 2008

Gebhard Ullmann

New Basement Research
Soul Note 121491-2

More appropriately described as demonstrated results than research, this first-class presentation of low-end polyphony not only celebrates Berlin reedist Gebhard Ullmann’s 50th birthday, but also gives him a chance to reinterpret older compositions in new surroundings.

Regularly gigging in both Europe and North America, the tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist’s sidemen reflect his trans-Atlantic contacts. British soprano and baritone saxophonist Julian Argülles traded licks with Ullmann on a continental big band recording, while the other players are all New Yorkers. Trombonist Steve Swell co-leads a quartet with the Berliner, while bassist John Hebert and drummer Gerald Cleaver, functioning for the first time as the reedist’s rhythm team, aptly demonstrate why they’re among the busiest individuals in the city. MORE

June 26, 2006

John Wolf Brennan

I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S.
Creative Works CW 1046/1047

By Ken Waxman

Proof, if more were needed, that a composer's apprenticeship can last longer than he or she imagines at the time, is I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S., a two-CD cross section of Irish-Swiss pianist John Wolf Brennan's recordings from 1979 to 1991.

During the past ten years, in solo performances and with all-star bands such as Momentum and Pago Libre, Brennan has shown himself a master of a distinctive European sound that, while drawing on both improv and notated sources, isn't quite jazz, yet isn't so-called classical either. But the route to mastery would seem to involve as long a journey to enlightenment as that experienced by a Buddhist monk—using the twenty-nine selections here as guide. MORE

May 15, 2006

John Wolf Brennan

I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S.
Creative Works

Pago Libre
Stepping Out
Leo Records

Momentum 4
Rising Fall
Leo Records

By Ken Waxman
May 15, 2006

Although Irish-Swiss pianist John Wolf Brennan is now in the enviable position of having several extant working bands and many other one-off aggregations, not every one of his endeavors flourishes.

This becomes perceptibly apparent when you compare the discs recorded within a month of one another in 2004 by two of his contemporary quartets, Pago Libre and Momentum 4. Even more illustrative are the 29 selections on I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S. Consisting of tracks from 1979 to 1991, the two-CD set shows Brennan inching towards a distinctive European sound that draws from both improv and notated sources. Yet some of the missteps here suggest that the route to mastery involves as long a journey to enlightenment as experienced by a novice Buddhist monk. MORE

October 1, 2001

A.D.D. TRIO

Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat
Enja ENJ-9361

No innocents abroad, the members of the A.D.D. Trio are three experienced English-speaking musicians who choose to live in Continental Europe.

Bakers rather than cooks, the three have blended spoonfuls of improv, jazz, classical and New Music with some pinches of funk and rock onto this cookie sheet of original sounds. When that cookie crumbles -- bisquitus disintegrat -- what results is a torte, honeyed enough for the occasional sweet-fancier, but with enough tang and personality to impress the sophisticated nibbler. MORE