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.
London 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.