“We all have our quirks. Thirty years devoted to the double bass, and I’d fallen in love with another…the saxophone. Feeling more and more like a saxophone player trapped in a bass player’s body, I had to become a saxophonist. This album is the love child of that transition” – Steve Arié
This is an unusual and charming album. Known for 30 years as a bass player, Steve Arié emerges here as an alto saxophonist. His quartet features two front-line instruments only: himself and Paul Cutlan who, despite his virtuosic command of the whole saxophone/clarinet family, plays only bass clarinet. A rhythm section of double bass (Abel Cross) and drums (Nic Cecire), functions without a chordal instrument. This is modern jazz pared back to its essentials. Still, Arié’s 12 compositions are full of attractive musical ideas, and interactions between the alto and bass clarinet, often in collective improvisation, are beautiful to hear. The improvisations are a delight, and the excellent rhythm section grooves, even at an energy level of subtle chamber music. This highly enjoyable album, full of melodic beauty, invokes the feeling that all is well.
Published in the Weekend Australian, May 16, 2020
Many musicians change their primary instrument in their teens and the odd one (like guitarist Ralph Towner) in their 20s. But to spend 30 years as a double bassist in such stellar projects as Ten Part Invention and John Turnbull's beat-poet show, Birth of the Cool, and then suddenly decide you're really an alto saxophonist, borders on the bizarre. Unsurprisingly for such a musical sophisticate, Steve Arie's debut in this new guise reveals that facility, conception and a delightfully airy sound are already in place.
He's also found ideal ways to house it in terms of both the band, completed by Paul Cutlan's bass clarinet, Able Cross' bass and Nic Cicere's drums, and the compositions (which carry vague echoes of the great Oscar Pettigrew's work). After the teasing Blues in the Meadow, these become fascinating. The off-kilter groove of Weeds is topped with moody melody and solos that imply dark rather than light. The highly distinctive Cutlan continues to cross-hatch shadows throughout an album that, like a large, rambling house, is full of intriguing spaces and curious nooks. The instruments blend beautifully, and Arie sounds like he was born to be a saxophonist. JOHN SHAND
Sydney Morning Herald by John Shand, online May 22, in print May 23, 2020
All songs written and arranged by Steve Arié. Paul Cutlan on bass clarinet, Abel Cross on double bass, Nic Cecire on drums and Steve Arié on alto saxophone (double bass on track 11)
Steve Arié is a rare bird on the jazz scene. After more than 30 years as one of the most in demand jazz double bass players, he has reinvented himself as a quirky vocalist and alto saxophonist with more than a nod to the styles of Chet Baker and Paul Desmond.
Steve has performed with many Australian greats including Dale Barlow, Bernie McGann, D.I.G., Ten Part Invention, George Washingmachine, Pardon Me Boys, MARA!, Bob Bertles, Erol Buddle, Wanderlust, Martin Plaza and Gyan.
He has played at prestigious festivals and events including two performances at Chicago Jazz Festival, Hothouse Jazz Club Chicago, The Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts (USA), Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Ruhrfestspiele Germany, Queenstown Jazz Festival and jazz and music festivals throughout Australia.
|Brand||Australian Independent - stevearie.com.au|
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