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Description: C:\Users\Tom\Pictures\0 - Jenny Hayes\00 - Multiple Folders\00-CD Cover Pics\Arch Stanton Quartet - Blues For Soli.jpg

Track listing:
1. Kofta
2. Zamalek
3. Groovin’ At the Azur
4. Soli’s Interlude (Asleep on the Bus)/Blues For Soli
5. Aphorisms
6. Dungoode Bayou
7. Striped Water
8. Floodgills
9. Convection Zone

Roger Noyes (guitar)
Terry Gordon (trumpet)
Chris Macchia (bass)
Steven Partyka (drums)

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Arch Stanton Quartet

Blues For Soli (WEPA Records)

by Tom Pierce

 I’ve been intrigued about the Arch Stanton Quartet for a number of reasons. These included initially a fascination with a band being named, not for one or more musicians or some other musical reference, but rather an obscure, dead fictional character whose gravesite figures in the plot of the Clint Eastwood western, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.

I have also appreciated for many years the exceptionally exciting trumpet of Terry Gordon in three top-notch Capital District big bands, as well as his own quintet. And lastly, I’d been reading about the quartet’s growing popularity locally. They were voted Best Local Jazz Band by Metroland readers in March 2013, after a number of successful live dates and  the release of their initial CD, “Along for the Ride” in November 2012 on WEPA Records.

I enjoyed this basically straight-ahead, grooving and melodically appealing debut CD, with its seven creatively interesting originals, and a captivating version of “Estate”, the popular Brazilian song I’ve long found exotically alluring. I was especially taken with how their arrangements effectively used their fairly rare combination of trumpet and guitar (plus bass & drums) to project a different, but resonantly full sound for a quartet with only one horn and no piano.

This second CD. “Blues For Soli” is even a bit more adventuresome and diverse. It opens with 4 originals (collectively termed the “Lady Egypt Suite”) which were inspired by their very busy one week tour of that country in March 2013. This tour included appearances at the Cairo International Jazz Festival, as well as performances at High Schools and the American University of Cairo, as well as workshops and master classes. This suite is followed by five additional unrelated originals, also written by either Roger Noyes or Terry Gordon, as were all the tunes on “Along for the Ride”.

The four songs in the “Lady Egypt Suite project the composers’ artistic reactions to (and incorporations of) a wide variety of memorable aspects of their adventure. These experiences included their very warm, faithful & unforgettably dependable bus driver Soli (for whom the CD is named), the Middle Eastern cuisine, an upscale Cairo neighborhood and traditional Egyptian music played at a wedding. Listening to these tunes reminded me of: how capably Jazz (in the hands of skilled musicians) can incorporate stimulating features of virtually ALL forms of music, while still adhering to its essential qualities of swinging, improvisation and blues feel. Their Middle Eastern vibe, compelling rhythmic drive and Terry Gordon’s enticing trumpet, flugelhorn & pocket trumpet reminded me of the superlative Israeli quartet, Third World Love, featuring trumpeter Avishai Cohen & bassist Omer Avital.

The five non-Egypt inspired originals effectively ran the gamut of ballads, funk/fusion grooves, Hard Bop/Post Bop, a waltz, etc. Each had its own identity in terms of melodic emphasis, rhythm, keys, etc; but almost all were highlighted by the assertively strong, propulsion, but also at times, movingly tender solos and ensemble melody statements by the featured trumpet and guitar. My personal favorites on the CD were the hypnotically rolling gait and memorably strong bass line of the swinging “Groovin’ at the Azur” (a tribute to the traditional Egyptian music at the wedding), the captivating Hard Bop groove of “Floodgills” and also the exquisite ballads: “Aphorisms’ and “Convection Zone’.

With two remarkably varied CDs to their credit, it’ll be interesting to see what directions their muse and life/music experiences will lead them into for their next production.

Tom Pierce has had a burning passion for Jazz for over 50 years, initiated and fueled by seeing live in New York City, starting in the early 1960's, virtually every major artist still performing. He's been very happily living in Guilderland since 2001, as an active retiree sharing his love of music by writing online reviews for a number of web sites, preparing DVD presentations to various groups, co-Hosting Radio programs showcasing his favorite artists and busily supporting A Place for Jazz in a variety of ways.