|Con Brasil Adentro
In 1999, The Argentinean pianist/composer Guillermo Klein released Los Guachos II. It was a critically-acclaimed recording that advanced the parameters of Latin jazz with its ingenious melding of straight-ahead North American swing with chacarera, milonga and tango and dance rhythms from Argentina.
This recording, Los Guachos III, a 20-track, two-CD release from Sunnyside, picks up where the previous CD left off. It also heralds the evolutionary and evolving compositional and arranging genius of a musician who is destined to leave his mark on 21st century music. It contains a number ensemble configurations featuring the cream of the crop of young musicians throughout the Americas, including Argentine trumpeter Diego Urcola, Puerto Rican alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, American guitarist Ben Monder and drummers Marlon Browder and Jeff Ballard. The name “Los Guachos” roughly translates as “the homeboys’ and many of these artists performed on Klein’s previous project.
On this CD, Klein has created a sound-world that effortlessly crosses the stylistic boundaries of jazz, Latin and classical music and has developed his own distinctive sonic signature that is bi-directional towards the past and the future.” Save for Nant’s "Chucaro," Ballard’s kalimba echoed “Bakery” and the festive ‘Hermanos Latinos” by the legendary Brazilian composer Hermento Pascoal, all of the tracks are composed by Klein. “I think this project has a dryer sound than Los Guachos II,” Klein says. “On this recording there’s a lot of counterpoint and textures.” While Coco” is an solo piano workout motored by a fast milonga-motored tempo, that counterpoint is tinged by the Cuban clave on the intricately constructed "Fugue X," “Tetris” and the flamenco flavored “La Ultima.” “All of the above are based J.S. Bach’s ‘Well-Tempered Clavier, Fugue #10, in E Minor,” Klein notes. The clave also shows up on the soulful syncopations of “Web” and “Broken Web.” “Canon” and “Espejo,” which means “mirror,” feature the Ornette Coleman-like use of two rhythm sections, while “Stella” employs a Bachian a contrapuntal four-voice arrangement. “It’s like when you see a plane in the sky, you sense its movement and at the same time you see the white smoke behind that is like an aura, which still resonates,” Klein explains.
The compositional tour-de-force of the recording is on the four-part suite “La Futura” on the second CD. It’s an evocative Coltranish tone poem that recalls the solitary plains of the Argentine pampa and the avant-garde expressions of the late ‘60s. ‘We went into the studio, and I told the players to play the most humble, sweet, aggressive and harmonious music were all is one and the individual spreads energy to the group,” Klein fondly recalls.
Klein’s all-embracing musical outlook was forged in his hometown of Buenos Aires. He moved to Boston in 1990 to study at Berklee College of Music. After graduation he moved to New York in 1993 and worked as a sideman with the United Nation Orchestra led by Paquito D’Rivera. He formed an his pioneering 17-piece big band, which was an fixture on Sunday nights at Greenwich Village club Smalls for the next two years. Klein’s big band was later featured at The Jazz Standard on Monday nights for a few months and he recorded his first CD, El Minotauro on the Candid label in 1997. Klein’s ten-piece ensemble, Los Guachos made their recording debut two years later on Sunnyside.
For Guillermo Klein, Los Guachos III is the next chapter in the exciting musical autobiography of a very talented and important artist.