Tom Arthurs: Centripede (2003)
Recently nominated for Best New Act by the BBC Jazz Awards, Centripede is "Fresh and friendly music inspired by world dance musics contemporary and traditional, strategic improvisation and the compositional depth of twentieth century classical music"... at least that's how the band leader, trumpet player and composer Tom Arthurs describes the eclectic blend of styles that define his compositions. Packed with great solos and original composition that stylistically fall somewhere between the avant-garde and jazz with a little bit of everything else thrown in, Centripede is one of those albums where you really can discover something new every time you listen.
Even when contending with complex composed sections and unusual time signatures, Max De Wardener (acoustic bass) and Tim Giles (drums) maintain an easy loose feel that supports the three main soloists, Tom Arthurs (trumpet and flugel), Ingrid Laubrock (soprano and tenor sax) and Jez Franks (guitar), who use long flowing lines juxtaposed with short repeated patterns to create the harmonic and melodic structure of the compositions. Laubrock, herself nominated for the BBC Best New Act award, really stands out in the first tune "Issues," her fluid tone and use of the upper register and repeated patterns have the effect of adding petrol to an already roaring fire, adding real lift to the dark bass riff and sharp backing figures of the composition.
Jez Franks is a staggering improvisational force, his impeccable time and long lines interacting beautifully with the rhythm section, his lyrical playing in the pensive "Buddha Beads" and the more fusion-influenced distorted solo on "Sick Mind" showing his diversity of tone and style. Arthurs' warm, pure trumpet and flugelhorn tone allows intervallic skips reminiscent of Kenny Wheeler and closer chromatic playing to really sing, forming the basis of his well executed solos.
In short, Centripede is a powerful collection of fun, passionate, beautiful music peformed by five accomplished musicians.
Track Listing: Issues 7.47; Buddha Beads 11.03; Pollock 5.19; Sick Mind 9.35; Bitbob 2.28; Perception Extended 9.52; Stroll 2.36
Personnel: Tom Arthurs (trumpet and fl