Guillermo Klein

El Minotauro

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This album, inexplicably out of print, documents one of the earliest incarnations of Guillermo Klein's big band. Called Big Van, the ensemble had pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller, and drummer Marc Miralta in the rhythm section; Chris Cheek and Mark Turner, Matt Hong, Dave Barraza, and Dan Bosshardt on saxophones; Richard Nant, John Walsh, Juan Cruz de Urquiza, and David Boato on trumpets; Sandro Tomasi, Masa Ikeda, and Sir Matt Pavolka on trombones; and Sten Hostfält on guitar. Klein wrote, arranged, and conducted the album's eight powerful tracks.

Blending the sounds of his native Argentina with a cutting-edge harmonic and orchestrational sophistication, Klein guides you through a wide swath of musical territory: the bright Latin jazz of "El Minotauro" and "Free"; the darker, majestic sounds of "Primer Tango" and "Lo Perdido" (the latter featuring an intense Spanish vocal performance by Sophie Durer); the impressionistic portraits "La Manzana de Las Luces" and "Abismo"; and the retro jazz/funk grooves of "La Madre de Mi Hermana" and "Technicolor." Klein's mastery of timbral variation and subtle dynamics makes the album a lasting pleasure. The band's brilliant soloists heighten the impact of Klein's writing all the more. And the strategic use of quirky voice-overs and signal processing gives the album an added punch. Along with figures such as Maria Schneider and Jason Lindner, Guillermo Klein is helping give rise to a new era in big-band composition.

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