This album, Some Trips by Luis Lascano is a short one. This is a pity because the songs—every one of them—is beautifully crafted. They are written in a style that is folkloric and affecting, and yet informed by modes that rejoice in contemporaneity. Each has hidden metaphors in praise of both jazz and the new music of Argentina as well. And then there is the extraordinary workmanship of Mr. Lascano’s bass—something that resembles rolling thunder that is melodious and rhythmic at the same time. It moans when the music calls for it and is bright and ebullient when the bassist wills it. The fact that Mr. Lascano is able to do this says something not only about his technical skill but also about the expression that he brings to his instrument. This is not common among electric bass players, who usually play straight not because they want to, but because most of them are simply dextrous enough to make their instrument talk and express music in a vocal manner. But this is not the case with Mr. Lascano. He is a sensitive player; a musician with a remarkable voice of a “singer” on his instrument, who exults in playing an instrument that has long been in all but the mainly grumbling low register.
Luis Lascano may live in New York, but he is an Argentinean in his soul. His music reflects that and throbs with the heart of one who longs for the exquisite beauty of his homeland. An argument could be made that every expatriate player living in New York brings something or the other from the country of his birth to his art. But there seems to be something much more than that in Mr. Lascano’s craft. He is a true compatriot of the soil celebrated and buried lives in the making of Argentina. He is sensitive to the Afro-Latin antecedents of the music of that country however buried in the fabric of its art that may be. His music does not simply use idioms of the music of Argentina, they are woven into the tapestry of his pieces. There echoes the sound of valour and celebration of life; the sadness that comes when it ends and the desperate longing for the triumph of human endeavour when the chips are down. There is a spectral beauty in the rhythms of the beating heart of Argentina here. The chacarera nestles cheek by jowl with jazz. The joyfulness that makes a Carnivalito come to life with the vibrancy and revelry of its dancers and musicians makes way for the shuffling rhythms of the proverbial zamba. The sensuality of tango the excited rhythms of the Argentinean habanera may be cleverly hidden in some of the pieces but the beauty of the Payada is reflected in the elemental sadness of the vocals of Natalia Bernal in “El Arlequín” and “La Rana Naranja”.
There is something else in this recording and that has to do with the musical intellect of Mr. Lascano. It is his extremely ingenious use of the violin to substitute it for the bandoneón, ever-present in the music of Argentina. Likewise, the saxophone—especially the soprano saxophone—is used to replace the traditional flute of his music. The cello on “El Arlequín” is absolutely superb. Thus the pristine set combines the deep sensuality with all that is philosophical in an album of astonishing detail and precision in its musical colouring and texture.
Track List: El Mandril; El Arlequín; Insistiendo; Potassium; La Rana Naranja; Pedro Damián.
Personnel: Natalia Bernal: voice; Machiko Ozawa: violin; Sergio Reyes: violin; Adam Fisher: cello; Sam Sadigursky: soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, and flute; Kirk Knuffke: trumpet; Eric Kurimski: guitar; Tomas Murmis: guitar; Emilio Teubal: piano; Marcos Torres: percussion; Ignacio Rivas Bixio: drums; Luis Lascano: bass.
Label: Independent | Release date: September 2014
About Luis Lascano
Argentinean bass player and composer Luis Lascano was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, he moved to New York City, where he had just released his first album. He is also actively working as a film and TV music composer. Read more…