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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CD Review: Dino Saluzzi Group - El Valle de la Infancia

Dino Saluzzi (bandoneon); Jose Maria Saluzzi (classical and requinto guitars); Nicolas “Colacho” Brizuela (classical guitar); Felix “Cuchara” Saluzzi (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Matias Saluzzi (electric bass, double bass); Quintino Cinalli (drums, percussion).
(Review by Hugh Cochrane).
It was during the recent visit of MP Chi Onwurah to the Globe that Lance approached me and asked me if I would like to review some CDs. “Er, well...”, I replied. “What do you like?” asked Lance. “Most things”, I replied - “ECM?” suggested Lance, and handed me a package containing two CDs in the iconic black and white livery of the label.
ECM have made it a trademark to put together artists signed to the label who are from different musical genres. I was already familiar with some of the output by Dino Saluzzi in collaboration with Anja Lechner – a classical cellist. In this work however we find him on home territory with his “family” band – their first such album since Juan Condori in 2006.
Saluzzi derives from North Argentina and this music captures the essence and spirit of this region. The disc exudes atmosphere, indeed Saluzzi is not interested in virtuosity for its own sake but invites the listener to let their imagination travel, with the music, to some different times and places. One does feel drawn into the Argentinian countryside. Saluzzi emphasises that, although the music is composed (predominantly by Dino himself), it is continually evolving and is not necessarily played the same way on each occasion.
There are eight tracks on the album, four of which are divided into two or more parts. The first track Sombras (darkness) sets the scene. The disc then takes us on a tour of the territories, expressed as a series of suites: La Polvadera to Pueblo. At this point we are introduced to the artists father and son (A mi Padre y a mi Hijo). We then progress on to Churqui and Urkupina. The mood remains generally contemplative, evocative of stifling summer heat, where the best plan is to sit around in the shade jamming over a cool beer. Its now time to join the party in La Fiesta Popular, where the mood hots up, just a little, but never too much. The final track, Tiempos Primeros, is in a similar vein and nicely concludes the journey. We feel exhilarated, and a little tired, but not exhausted.
Lovers of tango and Argentinian music in general will love this disc. Is this jazz? – well, probably not, but it certainly carries some of the spirit of the oeuvre. Jazz lovers will, I'm sure, find much to delight the ear.
Hugh C.
ECM. Catalogue No. 7700323 available now.

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