Federico Aubele

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Amatoria Review

by Alex Henderson

Some listeners have a hard time comprehending or appreciating subtlety, which is why so many of the more myopic jazz critics had no kind words for jazz' Cool School back in the 1950s and '60s. But in fact, subtlety can be compelling; it has worked wonders for artists ranging from Joni Mitchell to João Gilberto to Sade to the late Chet Baker. And subtlety certainly works well for Federico Aubele on Amatoria. This December 2008 recording never shouts to get one's attention; Aubele is a master of restraint and understatement, but that doesn't mean that the Argentinean singer/songwriter isn't highly expressive on breezy, gently introspective offerings such as "Siempre Nuevo" ("Always New"), "Tan Cerca" ("So Near"), "Luna y Sol" ("Moon and Sun") and "Este Amor" ("This Love"). A wide variety of influences assert themselves on this 40-minute CD, ranging from downtempo and trip-hop to reggae, boleros, flamenco, tango, and salsa. Aubele has cited the Beatles as an influence, and to be sure, the influence of Fab Four's softer side (as in "My Michelle," "Across the Universe," and "A Day in the Life") does assert itself on parts of Amatoria (the fact that this album was recorded 38 years after the Beatles' breakup is one of the many examples of how long-lasting their influence has been). But whatever influences might assert themselves on a particular track, Aubele's songs always sound very personal. Amatoria doesn't beat listeners over the head with Aubele's emotions, but for those who can appreciate subtlety and understatement, this excellent album never fails to demonstrate that the Buenos Aires native is an artist of major depth and substance.

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