Preview/CD taster: No Complications with Len Aruliah

An all to rare sighting of Len Aruliah leading his own band at the BeBop Club on Friday (9th March) leaves me slightly frustrated that I’ve managed my diary such that I can’t be there. An encouragement to others to go, and to get hold of his recent recording No Complications will have to suffice.

lenaruliahLondon based Len is a regular visitor to Bristol and pops up in all sorts of settings, but the album gives a sense of where his heart lies.   It’s a set of sophisticated, musically erudite, contemporary jazz tunes, all from his own pen.  There’s a maturity to the writing.  Tricky time signatures, shape shifting structures, hip harmony; they are all there, but always in the service of emotional impact and lovingly crafted melody.   A tribute to Billy Strayhorn could be a standard, the title track is a pulsating latin tinged piece, there are swinging burners and a delicate tango, looser limbed bluesey pieces with an edge of sleaze.  There’s plenty to explore.  It was recorded with a fine Canadian band in Vancouver where Len spent his formative years. There’s a real dynamism and edge to the improvisation.

For the BeBop club Len’s teamed up with the Italian duo of Pasquale Votino on bass and Paolo Adamo on drums. There’s a reason they’ve become the go to rythmn section in Bristol over the last 4 or 5 years.  Tom Berge on piano and Magnus Dearness on trombone complete the line-up. It’s a showcase for the creative melting pot Bristol’s scene has become in recent years. They’ll surely do Len’s tunes justice.

If you’re in Bristol – it’ll be the place to be.

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