Featured Album · Editor’s Pick
The most remarkable aspect of the music of Pablo Ablanedo is the compositions themselves. As an artist Mr Ablanedo has a prodigious gift for sonic architecture. It appears that sound – acoustics of the empirical kind, that is – seems to speak to Mr Ablanedo in a very private and special way. Note frequencies are revealed in secret, which results in magical combinations of notes – and therefore sounds – which together are strung up like artifacts of immense beauty; remarkable dalliances of melody and harmony; agitated atoms and molecules glued together in rhythms that are at once ancient and yet modern. Even more extraordinary – I suspect – is the fact that Mr Ablanedo could be anywhere in this world and music would resonate within him in exactly the same way as it does. By this, I suppose, is the fact that Mr Ablanedo is Argentinean by birth, but his music reflects an otherworldly source, quite independent of what may be his own cultural skin and sensibility.
So, for instance, if you put Chistreza together with that [cultural] fact, you might expect to hear “tango” reflected in this music. You will not hear that – at least not overtly, although the “feeling” of the skin close to skin, the smell of sweating dancers and the sexual current that comes from all of that “tango” certainly shimmers under the surface of the music on this recording. And why not? This is music of the melting pot of humanity – wherever that humanity may be. It is urban music that reflects the imagery of an ethos that is an agglomeration of European and criollos, blacks and natives. It is music rooted in the rambling of sound of people struggling to live and make a living. Some of this is brilliantly captured in “Karmaveleando” and in “Chistreza” [Just as other aspects of the vagaries and curiosities of life is reflected in other music of course].
Most especially it is music that is crafted with surgical precision; sublime in aspects of ensemble [playing] as it is in the soli of the virtuosos entrusted with stepping forward into the limelight to deliver musical missives on behalf of the characters they are assigned to play in this evolving instrumental pantomime. You will hear the sensuous, rhythmic passion of music Argentinean in the haunting wail of Diego Urcola’s soli on “Karmavaleando” and “Chistreza”; or feel the reverberations and percussive colourations and African candomblé in the haunting woody notes of Anat Cohen’s solo on “Ti Mi Do”. The solo performances of saxophonists Jérôme Sabbagh and Chris Cheek float beautifully over the ensemble as do those of violinist Jenny Scheinman and guitarist Ben Monder.
Franco Pinna does not solo but his uniquely blended drum set reflects his own singular rhythmic voice. Fernando Huergo also provides a broodingly tumbling rhythmic groove. Daniel Ian Smith also brings his horns to bear in order to accentuate colour and texture. None of this, however, happens by accident; it is all there because Mr Ablanedo’s music wills it and his pianism eggs it on as he rings in the changes in mood, structure and tempo, making for a constantly interesting programme. The considerable degree of balance and integration of melody, harmony and rhythm, of composition and improvisation, of exploration, individuality and tradition is impressively maintained throughout this seductively beckoning recital.
Track list – Side A – 1: La Señal; 2: Karmavaleando; 3: Plaisantriste; Side B – 1: Chistreza; 2: Ti Mi Do; 3: Bipolarious; 4: Winter Variations
Personnel – Pablo Ablanedo: piano; Anat Cohen: clarinet [ solo on Side A-3 and Side B-2]; Jenny Scheinman: violin [soli on Side A-1 and Side B-1]; Chris Cheek: tenor and soprano saxophones [soli on Side A-1, Side B-4]; Jérôme Sabbagh: tenor and soprano saxophones [soli on Side A-2 and Side B-4]; Diego Urcola: trumpet [soli on Side A-2 and Side B-1]; Ben Monder: guitar [soli on Side B-3, 4]; Fernando Huergo: electric bass; Franco Pinna: drums; Daniel Ian Smith: additional saxophones
Released – 2020
Label – Newvelle [NV026]
Runtime – Side A – 18:02; Side B – 18:57