Blues For Soli is the Arch Stanton Quartet's second studio release. It features a suite of four new songs inspired by the Arch Stanton Quartet's tour of Egypt last year, along with five other original pieces.
The album begins with the “Lady Egypt Suite,” named for the bus company and its driver, Soli, who escorted the band between performances in Cairo and Alexandria. The suite includes: a quirky take on Middle Eastern cuisine (“Kofta”); a hard swingin’ ode to the swanky Zamalek neighborhood of Cairo (“Zamalek”); a freeform composition inspired by traditional Egyptian melodies the band overheard at a hotel wedding in Alexandria (“Groovin’ At The Azur”); and a blues number (the title track) honoring the band’s indefatigable driver throughout the tour (“Blues For Soli”).
Other songs on the new album include a smoky ballad in the “St. James Infirmary” mold (“Aphorisms”); a swampy funk-groove tune with lots of twists and turns (“Dungoode Bayou”); the propulsive “Floodgills”; the rock-funk-fusion and swing of “Striped Water”; and a dreamlike waltz to close out the record (“Convection Zone”).
REVIEWS AND PRESS
In a review of the album for Metroland, Jeff Nania writes: "This record serves to showcase the evolution of a local group's compositional style as they continue to go beyond bop and incorporate further cultural influences into their sound."
In a review for the Albany Times Union, Dave Malachowski writes: "The Arch Stanton Quartet takes a giant step forward creatively here, making a bold, brave statement with this inventive recording."
Blues For Soli secured spots on the year-end ‘best-of lists’ for albanyjazz.com
and WEXT 97.7 FM. In naming it as his number 4 selection for the year, photographer/reviewer Rudy Lu called Blues For Soli “A clear example of how jazz is absorbing other music. The unusual front end of guitar and trumpet/flugelhorn of Roger Noyes and Terry Gordon is used to much advantage in creating unusual textures in the music. The rhythm section of Chris Macchia and Steve Partyka add to the multiple frames of reference of their music.”
In a review for albanyjazz.com
, Tom Pierce wrote that "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 … 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.’”
In a review for nippertown.com
, J. Hunter writes: "The Arch Stanton Quartet is back with Blues For Soli, and there are two bits of good news: First, no sophomore slump here; and second, Greater Nippertown's musical ambassadors are STILL as nasty as they want to be! ... While the Arch Stanton Quartet haven't strayed from the no-frills, damn-right vibe that had me eating up Along [For The Ride] with two spoons and a straw, they are definitely plumbing deeper depths on Soli."