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Squash Recipe

Artist: Tom Arthurs

Date of Release: 01/01/2006

Catalogue no: 737

Label: Babel

Price: £10

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

Overwrought

4.58

2

 

Ek-clesiastical

3.13

3

listen

The Floorboard Variations

3.58

4

 

Exercise #15 (Brahms)

0.48

5

 

Touched

4.05

6

 

Banffalo

3.41

7

listen

Refractal

6.41

8

 

Cerebral Blip

3.44

9

 

P2C2E

3.52

 

 

 

 

Squash Recipe brings together the acclaimed British trumpeter Tom Arthurs with Canadian musicians Bruce McKinnon (piano) and Joe Sorbara (drums and percussion). It is the result of a friendship and musical relationship between the three players that began in 2001 in the cultural hotbed of the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada. The trio is shaped by common interests in multi-faceted approaches to music-making, and their recent work together has culminated in this album of intensely playful and engaging music!

Influences range from Steve Coleman through Erik Satie to the Marx Brothers, and from Paul Klee to Autechre via John Zorn!

 

Reviews

 

22/02/0006 Chris May, Allaboutjazz.com

When a young artist like Tom Arthurs—still only 26—gets feted as the Next Big Thing, the pressure to satisfy the technicolour expectations of media, record company and audience can really mess with his head. Next thing you know, he'll release an album which attempts to climb too high too fast... and then there's tears.

Following the wall-to-wall acclaim that greeted his 2003 debut album, Centripede, and his nomination as a Rising Star in the BBC Jazz Awards the following year, Arthurs could easily have fallen into this trap. So how good it is to report that with this, his second, long in gestation album, the trumpeter and flugelhornist demonstrates career management as measured, assured and mature as his playing and composing. The guy isn't aiming at an easy target, and he isn't going to be rushed. (Arthurs is fortunate, of course, to be surrounded by some wise and older heads—both within the F-IRE Collective, of which he is a longtime member, and on the Babel label, whose founder, Oliver Weindling, steers with a light touch, allowing artists to follow their own developing creative instincts).

Squash Recipe is the antithesis of a grandstanding, look-at-me album. It's pensive, understated, unflashy, mostly pastel-coloured chamber music, equal parts free improvisation and contemporary conservatoire—and an equal-footing collective effort between the musicians. (The members of the trio have been friends since they met in '01 at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada). Arthurs wrote three of the tunes on the disc, drummer/percussionist Joe Sorbara three, and pianist Bruce McKinnon two. (Brahms' “Exercise #15” additonally gets a brief, respectful mutation.)

Arthurs' opening “Overwrought,” a dislocated art-funk ostinato which is passed around all three musicians, is the most heated and upbeat track. It's exhilarating stuff, both cerebral and visceral, and a more star-hungry artist might have been tempted to maintain the groove through the album. But elsewhere the musicians converse softly with each other. Sorbara is heard clicking and tapping on percussion more often than he opens the throttle on the traps; Arthurs avoids fireworks in favour of full, fat, unhurried notes, though he lets fly with some glorious smears, growls and glisses on McKinnon's “Banffalo” and Sorbara's ”Cerebral Blip.” And McKinnon is at times positively Satie-esque.

Arthurs' career trajectory may be slow-burning, but the quiet achievement that is Squash Recipe is further evidence—along with his work with Arthurs.Hoiby.Ritchie and with Icarus' Ollie Brown—that it will sure enough reach the heights. In its own sweet time.

 

17/02/0006 John Fordham, The Guardian

Trumpeter Tom Arthurs was a Rising Star nominee in the 2004 British jazz awards, for the rhythmically exploratory, patiently composed music of his quintet, Centripede. A member of London's multi-genre F-ire Collective, Arthurs has his own view of that group's experiments with the pulse. This trio set finds him working with two Canadian musicians: pianist Bruce McKinnon and drummer Joe Sorbara.

At times, Arthurs echoes the playing of Kenny Wheeler, and the manipulating of overlaid grooves has some of its ancestry in the work of such Americans as Dave Douglas, Steve Coleman and Greg Osby. Sometimes it sounds like free- improv written down, sometimes like a spiky contemporary-classical music; all of it is expertly performed. The trumpeter's steady, long sounds resemble a hypnotic stare. Ek-ckesiastical is almost a whispery ballad with a brief glimpse of Brahms. And Joe Sorbara's exclamatory P2C2E features the trumpeter's clear, fluid sound and faultless pitching over a mixture of metronomic and free-floating accompaniment. Another step on the way toward Arthurs becoming a major figure.

 

01/02/0006 Tom Barlow, Jazzwise

A heavywieght avant jazz record, Squash Recipe reveals how class musicianship can cross continents. Trumpeter Tom Arthurs and his two North American compadres met at a three-week music residency in Canada and their chemistry and willingness to take risks makes this follow-up a big success.
Here the trio creates intense music, shape-shifting between beautiful, spacious lyricism and surreal spontaneous free-for-alls. The tunes are infused with experimentalism, with Arthurs' compositions particularly impressive from the M-Base-like opener - the menacing Overwrought - to the plaintive and very European Refractal.
Eight originals are included, along with a minute-long re-arrangement of Brahms' Excercise No. 15. Throughout Arthurs reveals his quality, blowing muted Miles-style cool over the spacey Touched, and deep, resonant lines with graceful flugelhorn on Refractal. Elsewhere he growls like a 70s loft-scene veteran over The Floorboard Variations. The trumpeter takes full advantage of the space the impressive McKinnon and Sorbara create, making a challenging, mature record in the process.

 

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