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Los Changos Septet: Anit Negra

Jerry D'Souza By

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More proof that jazz spreads its wings, ensnares and influences is writ large on this offering from Los Changos. This is their first recording as a group of seven, expanding from the core of Julio A. Santillan, Fernando Huergo, and Franco Pinna, who met at Berklee, eventually formed a band and released their first CD, Desde el Norte, in 2001.

The first music that Santillan became familiar with was the folk music of his homeland, Argentina. Then came classical music and finally jazz. He uses the three forms well, merging them into a structured body, no matter what rhythm he chooses. And there are several Argentinean folk rhythms manifested here. Each has a color of its own and the grain becomes all the more vibrant through the array of instruments that come into play, fleshing out the compositions and making them throb with vitality.

To meet a commonplace expectation, yes the tango is in there and it comes with "Nanina." Evan Harlan is the man who gets the music grooving, the accordion venting the passion, abetted by the voice of Marta Gomez. Then, a whole new dimension as the band comes in, the rhythm surging before closing in gentle grace. There is also the milango. Though not as well known as the tango, which it preceded, it holds its own and "Cochuna" emphasizes why in no uncertain terms as it swirls and leaps and bounds, driven here by Pinna, Gomez, and Santillan, who builds compelling sequences, and Carlitos Michelini's own propulsion on the clarinet.

The chacarera is a 6/8 rhythm that uses the bombo, a double-headed drum. The cycle loops on the beat, riveting conviction coming on the pulsating "El Tata." Another side of the chacarera is seen on the exultant "Ludmilla," with Gomez in fine voice. She certainly adds a distinct flavour, but she is in top gear on "La Llamita" as she compels a haunting, ethereal air, accompanied only by Pinna on a drum.

This is heady music! Good work, guys!

Visit Julio A. Santillan on the web.


Track Listing: 1. El Tata; 2. Nanina; 3. Cantor Leg

Personnel: Julio A. Santillan--guitar; Fernando Huergo--bass; Franco Pinna--drums; Marta Gomez--voice; Fernando Brand?o--flute; Carlitos Michelini--clarinet; Evan Harlan--accordion; Ra?l Carnota--voice

Title: Anit Negra | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: BigSur Records


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