Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra: El Viaje (2009)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Bassist Pedro Giraudo has created an excellent program of tone poems that come alive through his 12-piece orchestra. Dedicated to his wife and infant daughter, most of the compositions relate his feelings on becoming a father and assuming new responsibilities. He explains in his liner notes that the event was a major turning point in his life, with many ups and downs, giving him emotional twists he describes through the dissonance of a trombone, lyricism from a tenor saxophone, staccato tonguing from two trumpeters and arco bass passages, giving this program its authenticity.
Originally from Cordoba, Argentina, Giraudo moved to New York City in 1996. His music carries a bit of tango and folk music within, and improvised portions by some of New York's finest jazz artists give each selection built-in excitement. A four-part suite "El Viaje (The Trip)" journeys through anxiety and relief, closing with Will Vinson's hot alto saxophone solo in a shower of spontaneity. Throughout the program, compelling statements come from each soloist, particularly trumpeters Tatum Greenblatt and Jonathan Powell, trombonist Mike Fahie, tenor saxophonist Luke Batson, baritone saxophonist Carl Maraghi and guest alto saxophonist Alejandro Aviles.
"El Bajonazo"'s deep anxiety is delivered through the brass section and its exciting rhythmic drive. "Yarulina," on the other hand, paints a somber aural picture of two dancing partners in fluid motion with spirits melding together. "Nachgeschmack," the longest track on the album, brings a glow to the orchestra that implies the proud look on a new father's face. Like Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus, Giraudo creates jazz that places its focus on individual band members who emphasize the spirit of each piece. Giraudo's impressions make a solid statement about living and about creative jazz. Maybe he passed out cigars and made a slew of calls on his cell phone when the big day came, but his decision to commemorate his daughter's birth through this series of compositions gives jazz fans the world over a chance to celebrate with the proud parents.
Track Listing: El Bajonazo; El Viaje; Yarulina; Nachgeschmack; Punto de Partida; Hiroshima.
Personnel: Pedro Giraudo: double-bass, composer, arranger; Will Vinson: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Todd Bashore: alto saxophone; Luke Batson: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Carl Maraghi: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Jonathan Powell, Tatum Greenblatt, Ryan Keberle: trumpet; Mike Fahie: trombone; Jess Jurkovic: piano; Jeff Davis: drums; Tony De Vivo: cajon, guiro; Alejandro Aviles: alto saxophone and clarinet (1, 3).
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz