The composer and bassist Pablo Lanouguere comes from a small, yet burgeoning group of younger musicians who, although originally hailing from Argentina, seem inspired to forge an individual style based on their traditional music, the most popular expression of which is the tango. Being based recently in New York, a hotbed of experimentalism and the avant-garde, however, Mr Lanouguere appears willing to give himself to taking native forms and overlaying them with a highly spiced chromatic idiom. On Eclectico the bassist takes things up a notch by presenting his music in a quintet rather unusual format. First of all there is no bandoneon. And secondly, Mr Lanouguere sees it fit to express himself and his music with a string-heavy ensemble, bolstered on two occasions by electronic instruments played by the inimitable Fernando Otero (on “Hacia donde vamos” and by Antonio Boyadjian on the exquisite waltz “Un Primero saldrá”.
But clearly this is not an experiment for a sonic experiment’s sake. Nor is it music where improvisation inspired by jazz is forcefully imposed to create a dilettantish expression of Latin-Jazz. The music is highly intellectual and innovative albeit infused with the character of Argentinean dance. “Gatito de la fiesta” is a beautiful (as the title suggests) little gato, spinning with lively and interminable grace as the violin and guitar weave the melody with eloquent department as the piano, bass and drums weave magical harmonies into this breathtaking piece. While the bassist emerges as the master and commander of this masterful creation I cannot help being mesmerised by the extraordinary virtuosity of Francisco Pinna’s superb percussion colouring. His precision and virtuosity makes for a beguiling experience.
If you are a purist, expecting to hear Argentinean music fear not, but be warned and be prepared to find something wholly new. “Mil Grullas de Papel” and “Piano Piano” are marvellously moulded tangos played with requisite passion and “Un Primero saldrá” is a memorable waltz where pianist Emilio Teubal is holding up extremely well. His playing is clear, unaffected and lyrical, showing great awareness of shape and colour. However, make no mistake, Mr Lanouguere uses his opportunity as leader to shine. His awe-inspiring individuality and creative impulses reach extraordinary heights (especially) on the dark and lively “Hacia donde vamos” where his tender yet strongly pulsed playing is sublime. And just as his pizzicato playing is outstanding, so also is his playing con arco masterful. Every member of this quintet also responds with delightful enthusiasm to his sensitive and commanding leadership.
Track list – 1: Mil Grullas de Papel; 2: Piano Piano; 3: Villa; 4: Rotin; 5: Complicando lo simple; 6: Gatito de la fiesta; 7: Un Primero saldrá; 8: Introspection; 9: Descalzo; 10: Valz para olvidar; 11: Era Hora; 12: Hacia donde vamos
Personnel – Nick Danielson: violin; Federico Diaz: guitar; Emilio Teubal: piano; Pablo Lanouguere: contrabass and electric bass; Franco Pinna: drums; and featuring – Fernando Otero: synthesizers (12); Antonio Boyadjian: synthesizers (7)
Released – 2019
Label – Independent
Runtime – 42:56