1. Burrito Hill
8. The Habit of Memory
9. Piano sonata op 22 (first mov.)
CD Quality - 16 bit / 44.1 khz
An important vehicle aiding in the direction musical polyglot Guillermo Klein’s art follows is that both the process and product have meaning. As a bandleader and principal composer/arranger for Los Guachos, Klein is responsible for sustaining a large ensemble of the highest caliber musicians that creates music that is both attractive and unique.
Klein’s new recording with Los Guachos, Carrera, proves significant for a number of reasons. This recording is a collection of compositions generated prior to and after Klein’s return to his birthplace Buenos Aires from Barcelona, a move that has had a tremendous impact on the composer and his family. The songs on the recording contain strong messages that Klein feels need to be heard. And most importantly, the recording demonstrates the tremendous bond that continues to grow amongst the members of Los Guachos.
The story of Los Guachos began at Berklee College of Music in Boston where Klein studied composition and jazz during the early 1990s. At Berklee, Klein met a number of sympathetic musicians with whom he created a large ensemble, which continued to assemble after his move to New York City. Los Guachos was a culmination of Berklee friends and New York associates that came together to play Klein’s music for residencies at Small’s Jazz Club and the Jazz Standard.
Los Guachos have been performing together for nearly twenty years. Though a large group, the ensemble has developed a camaraderie akin to family; more hermanos than bandmates.
“There’s a lot of care from the band on every note and I like the sound very much,” mentioned Klein. “You know… We’ve been playing for almost twenty years now and I can feel that.”
One of the first projects that Klein undertook upon his return to Argentina was arranging the music of Cuchi Leguizamón for the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival (Domador de Huellas, Sunnyside (2010)). Klein had always looked to Argentina’s musical past for inspiration and has continued on Carrera , arranging pieces by illustrious composer Alberto Ginastera and the tango tandem of composer Juan Carlos Cobián and lyricist Enrique Cadicamo. The Lequizamón project also reinforced the importance of strong lyrical content and vocals in Klein’s work. He made a concerted effort to make these more prominent on Carrera.
The album leads with “Burrito Hill,” a dedication to the master arranger Gil Evans that features the tremendous efforts of the rhythm section - drummer Jeff Ballard, bassist Fernando Huergo and percussionist Richard Nant - on intricately written, interweaving claves. The melancholy “Globo” is a lovely, floating lament about lost illusions featuring vocals by Klein and saxophonist Miguel Zenón. Nant‘s “Niños” is a dancing composition inspired by a children’s song.
“Mariana”, written for a friend of Klein’s, overcomes many obstacles, audibly represented by a tricky 4 over 5 time signature that saxophonist soloist Chris Cheek handles with aplomb. The beloved tango “Los Mareados” written by Juan Carlos Cobián and Enrique Cadicamo , says Klein, “has the most powerful lyrics and I wrote this canon for piano and guitar in the middle section trying to emphasize that time is an illusion.” The song echoes the voice of a lover, intoxicated by more than just feelings. “ArteSano” is an exercise over rhythm changes, with a solo showcasing a true musical craftsman, saxophonist Bill McHenry.
The lyrics to “Moreira” are a call for responsibility in actions with a stern arrangement that opens up with a marvelous solo by Zenón. “The Habit of Memory” is a beautiful tune written by trumpeter Taylor Haskins with stunning brass and percussion swells. The title track is a feature for guitarist Ben Monder and, while the tune doesn’t speed off, it quietly ruminates on the idea of achievement only being important if it gratifies spiritually, a delicate protest against greed.
While many of the compositions are somber, Klein provides an energetic arrangement of Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera’s “Piano sonata op 22.” Klein expounds: “The Biblioteca Nacional Argentina asked Richard Nant to work on Ginastera’s music and Richard knew that I liked the Sonata so he extended the request for me to arrange it. I always liked this Sonata and I think I got much of the Guachos sound from this piece.”
“I felt really happy to finally play those tunes with (Los Guachos) and hear how they interpreted them in their solos. I think we will play them for a long time.”
The music of Klein and Los Guachos is striking because it is meticulous, yet it feels extremely natural and meaningful. The ensemble’s ability to pull off such a feat, considering the complicated rhythmic puzzles, harmonic adventures and Spanish lyrics, is astounding and is only achievable when a group convenes with purpose and love. Carrera is a poignant testament to Klein and Los Guachos’s increasingly important message.
released May 22, 2012
Richard Nant - trumpet, percussion
Ben Monder - guitar
Miguel Zenón - alto sax, flute, vocals (2)
Sandro Tomasi - trombone
Taylor Haskins - trumpet
Chris Cheek - tenor, baritone sax
Jeff Ballard - drums
Fernando Huergo - electric bass
Guillermo Klein - piano, Rhodes, vocals
Bill McHenry - tenor sax
Diego Urcola - trumpet, trombone