Arthur Kell to release Speculation Quartet: Live at LunÀtico

Arthur Kell's latest release, Speculation Quartet: Live at LunÀtico, out on Origin Records on November 17, 2023
Arthur Kell

Arthur Kell‘s latest release, Speculation Quartet: Live at LunÀtico, out on Origin Records on November 17, 2023, is a homecoming for the bassist/composer.

The project merges the artist’s disparate pursuits, bringing his music full circle. Through Bar LunÀtico, Kell (a co-founder) has contributed greatly to the nurturing and sustaining of a vibrant music scene in modern-day Brooklyn. In turn, Kell’s involvement in the scene has helped to inform and develop his latest musical explorations.

However, long before Kell’s ubiquitous presence on LunÀtico’s bandstand as a sideman for artists such as Kenny Wolleson, Roy Nathanson, Paul Bollenback, Matt Darriau or Avram Fefer, many of Kell’s earliest gigs were in Bed-Stuy, playing at local bars and all-night joints such as Tiffany’s, Brownie’s, etc. 

Featuring two of the most revered guitarists on the scene, in NYC and beyond, Brad Shepik and Nate Radley and rising star Allan Mednard on drums, Speculation Quartet is about approaching, contemplating and interacting with the ever-present uncertainty and potential in life – hypothesizing about the inevitable risks we take with everything and everyone we encounter. 

The album’s melody-based compositions are inspired by Kell’s travels which have taken him far and wide, especially his four-month solo journey from Dakar, Senegal to the Indian Ocean. There are two explicit 12/8 cuts and hints of his work as a founding member of the late Thomas Chapin’s Afro-Brazilian-flavored band, Spirits Rebellious, and the Arabic music groups of Brian Prunka. More indirectly, the rare two-guitar frontline recalls Joey Baron’s Killer Joey, and Marc Johnson’s Bass Desires.

Rising from a modest storefront on a quiet residential street in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, in 2015, Bar LunÀtico has become an important and essential venue for live music in New York City. A treasured gig for musicians who thrive off of its tight intimate setting, it is an incubator and home for countless bands and genres.

Anything from Haiti’s Tiga Jean Baptiste, to Bill Frisell, to Duduka Da Fonseca, may grace the bandstand on any given night, weaving a musical tapestry which has included Wayne Tucker, Madeleine Peyroux, Julius Rodriguez, Dan Weiss, Secret Trio, Samir Langus, Leo Genovese, Yacouba Sissoko, Jorge Glem, Lau Noah, and the late great Henry Butler – to name but a few.

Kell has worked for a wide cross-section of influential bandleaders in New York City and around the world, including: Thomas Chapin, Matt Darriau, Kálmán Oláh, Guillermo Klein, Steve Cardenas, Paul Bollenback, Eri Yamamoto, Bruce Barth, Sam Newsome, Quintan Ana Wikso, Saul Rubin, Roy Nathanson, Claire Daly, Richard Julian, Philip Johnston, Denman Maroney, Shelley Hirsch, Danny Walsh and many others. He has recorded alongside Bernard Purdie and Matt Wilson.

As a composer with his own quartet, Kell has played and toured extensively in New York City, the U.S. and Europe – performing at the Jazz Standard, Smalls, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Madrid Jazz Festival, and a national broadcast for Deutschlandfunk radio in Germany. He has released five recordings of original music on various labels, including Origin Arts, Fresh Sound Records and Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records. 

Kell’s band has seen several incarnations and has featured the likes of Brad Shepik, Loren Stillman, Nate Radley, Michael Blake, Federico Casagrande, Nir Felder, Mark Ferber, Ben Monder, Steve Cardenas, Donny McCaslin, Gerald Cleaver, Francesco Bearzatti, Jeff Boudreaux, Allan Mednard, Guilherme Monteiro, Adam Kolker, Bill McHenry, Allison Miller and Gadi Lehavi.

He is one of the owners and co-founders of Bar LunÀtico in Brooklyn, NY. He’s a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music and taught music at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in Tamil Nadu, India. He coordinated the environmental work of the New York Public Interest Research Group in NYC for ten years up until 1997. Kell has also traveled extensively in Africa, including a solo trip for four months from Dakar, Senegal to the Indian Ocean.

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