Depending on where you come from Martha Argerich may be the greatest Argentinean icon. Some say Juan and Evita Perón are, but culturally speaking, perhaps not. There is, of course, two other things Argentinean – The Tango and Astor Piazzolla – that have been capturing the hearts and minds of people across the universe today… and Martha Argerich, of course. So if you’re one of those people who believe that three things have brought more attention to Argentina you might, in a sense, be right. But a whole generation (or two) of Argentinean musicians has been drawing attention to the fact that there might be much more to that country’s contribution to the world of music and dance. Digging just a little bit deeper you’ll find that Pablo Zeigler, who just won a 2018 Grammy Award for the Best Latin Jazz Album, Pablo Aslan, and of course the legendary Carlos Franzetti, all of whom have been featured on these pages… And then there’s another bassist and composer, Pedro Giraudo…
Every Argentinean musician keeps returning to the tango, for inspiration. It’s an obsession with them. But there is a lot more to the world of Argentinian music and dance. In his remarkable 2018 recording with The WDR Big Band, Pedro Giraudo is letting on that there is certainly much more to his music than the proverbial “Tango Obsession” because there simply is so much more to Argentinian music and dance. Make no mistake, this magnificent “obsession” is nothing to be scoffed at; quite the contrary with music from Astor Piazzolla – the creator of Nuevo tango – as well as Pablo Zeigler’s and Pablo Aslan’s re-imaginations of the tango, all of which have certainly enriched (by their own admission) collisions with the Jazz idiom that so continues to beckon them and many other musicians from South America.
With Mr Giraudo, one has always had a sense that something more was brewing in his music. Somehow it seemed, no matter even that he was writing for and performing in a smaller ensemble, many more forces seemed to be at work. Not only was his palette wider, but so was his entire sound world. This has always been borne out by his ambitious work with large orchestra and, as he also calls it, his Big Band. His “Pueblo” suite from Cordoba (ZOHO Music, 2011) and the “Angela Suite” from Cuentos (ZOHO Music 2015) gave notice that a larger work was imminent. Gathering his thoughts we have the epic work An Argentinian In New York, which incorporates the truly impressive “Desconsuelo Suite” which makes up the second part of that album which Mr Giraudo travelled all the way to Köln to make whilst conducting an iconic ensemble, The WDR Big Band live at the Kleine Sendesaal in that city.
Turning his attention to leading another adventure with his long-time quartet Pedro Giraudo returned to original source of his inspiration: the traditional music of his beloved Argentina. Here he throws himself wholly into the various song and dance forms that first inspired the musician in him. Vigor Tanguero is the result of that sojourn. Curiously, though, something more than just the Argentinian music unites the two albums; it is really the nature of Mr Giraudo’s sound world which seems to stretch not only from tradition to modernity but seems to find expression on a large soundscape no matter that in his smaller group he works without piano, drums, and still manages to convey a kind of orchestral sound. This is certainly true of Vigor Tanguero. His German stopover was the first in this recent expedition.