Julian Arguelles



The one-time East Lothian-based saxophonist Julian Arguelles explores his family’s Spanish roots on this superb collection of compositions enhanced by a trio of musicians who put their imaginations and musical personalities at the service of a genuine group effort.

Since the 1980s, when he was part of the Loose Tubes troupe that energised the London jazz scene, Arguelles has been admired for his often gently persuasive, wispily curling tenor style. To this he adds a more forthright, bullish approach on the opening Alala and on Barrio Gotico he leads the quartet with restless invention and energy.

The influence of flamenco is felt particularly strongly on Bulerias, where Sam Lasserson’s forceful double bass drives the music forward, and on Alegrias, where drummer James Maddren’s brushes and footwork suggest the dancer’s percussive role in duets with Arguelles’s searching soprano and the marvellous Ivo Neame’s inventive pianism.

Tonadas translates simply as tunes and while there’s perhaps some modest understatement in that choice of title, it is also borne out by the sheer joy of melody making in Arguelles’s writing and by the way all four musicians make the music sing tunefully while exercising their collective creative muscle.