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Sax heaven: Julian Arguelles

Brisbane International Jazz Festival

Julian Arguelles, courtesy Brisbane Jazz Festival Julian Arguelles, courtesy Brisbane Jazz Festival
The urbane program of the 2nd Brisbane Jazz Festival in early June features Finland’s Jukka Perko-Avara Trio, pianists Barney McAll and Mike Nock, the Julien Wilson Quartet and piano trio Trichotomy among others, not least UK saxophonist Julian Arguelles. An enthusiastic Guardian reviewer wrote in 2006 of “the evolution of the saxophonist and composer Julian Arguelles into the British Joe Lovano (with plenty of Celtic and European free-improv variations of his own).”

Arguelles, who plays tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinets and flutes and whose playing ranges from the elegantly mellifluous to be-bop urgency to improv unpredictability, is a prominent figure in the European jazz scene, especially in the contemporary big band field, performing with the highly regarded Frankfurt Radio Big Band. As soloist he has appeared with Tim Berne, Steve Swallow, John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Jim Black, Peter Erskine, Django Bates, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler and Carla Bley. His 2006 album Partita illustrates the finesse and sheer adventurousness of his playing on 15 mostly very short, very effectively varied tracks (the shortest being 1”09’).

Arguelles has been commissioned to create works for bands, groups and events as diverse as NDR Big Band (Hamburg), HR Big Band (Frankfurt), The Apollo Saxophone Quartet, Bath International Festival, the Fontanella Recorder Consort and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. The 2009 album Momenta is an exemplary account of Arguelle’s compositional and arrangement skills for big band.

The 2014 festival is also a great opportunity to premiere new works by Australian composers Sean Foran, Rafael Karlen, Louise Denson and Andrew Butt. Foran, a pianist and leader of Trichotomy (formerly Misinterprotato), has studied and played internationally.

The festival’s Artistic Director Lynette Irwin says, “Julian Arguelles is one of Europe’s most inventive saxophonists. Pairing him with the emotive and textural sounds of the piano trio Trichotomy will generate some exciting music. Additionally, Jazz Queensland has commissioned Sean Foran to create a new work for this unique collaboration.”

Recently added to the program is another saxophone great, American Joshua Redman with his quartet. RT

Jazz Queensland, 2nd Brisbane International Jazz Festival, Brisbane, 4-8 June,

RealTime issue #120 April-May 2014 pg. 46

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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