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Julian Arguelles Circularity (Cam Jazz)

The cover photograph has saxophonist Julian Arguelles standing on a step to achieve the same physical stature as his stellar rhythm section of pianist John Taylor, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Martin France.

In terms of musicianship, however, the diminutive Arguelles has long been in the same league as these taller guys, who are among the greatest British jazz exports to Europe and further afield of the past few decades. Arguelles's compositions and playing on this very fine release also put him in the direct lineage of two other British saxophonists, as there's something of the muscular certainty of Ronnie Scott on tenor and the church music-folksong inspiration of John Surman's soprano in these grooves. Such flavours apart, Arguelles is very much his own man with an improvising style that's followed a familiar, twisting path since he emerged from 1980s mavericks Loose Tubes and continues to beguile as Taylor, Holland and France unfailingly offer nous and springy invention.

Rob Adams

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