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Pablo Ziegler & Quique Sinesi: Bajo Cero

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Bajo Cero continues the string of fine releases from the folks at New York's Zoho Music, this time presenting an excellent example of tango nuevo in a trio format. Playing a combination of tango and jazz styles with roots in Argentina, the triumvirate is led by Pablo Ziegler, a graduate of the Buenos Aires Music Conservatory and Astor Piazzolla's pianist for ten years. He has been a featured symphonic performer and composer across the globe, as well as having associations with jazz players like Paquito D'Rivera, Gary Burton, and Joe Lovano. Ziegler is joined by Quique Sinesi, considered one of Argentina's more important guitarists, who has performed with the likes of Dino Saluzzi, Paquito D'Rivera, and Enrico Rava. Rounding out the trio is Walter Castro, a virtuoso bandoneonist who has played with Ziegler's quintet since 1995.

Listeners familiar with this type of music will be delighted with its freshness and craftsmanship. Those new to the style will find a wealth of surprises, not the least of which is its folk-like innocence. It has a romantic, dance-inspired inclination that, when combined with improvisation, becomes highly infectious. As in so many wonderful Fellini films, the spirit of everyday people and real human emotion emerges.

"Flor de Lino is a perfect example. A tuneful waltz, its simple, playful melody creates a mood one might find in a small café. A duet between Ziegler and Sinesi, the endearing melody is presented in camminando fashion, as are the individual free passages. Playing remains inside the changes and solos serve to embellish and preserve the melodic nature of the song. The title cut, "Bajo Cero, is a slightly dark piece of mostly minor harmonies, intriguing in its use of tempo changes, intricate unison lines and theme variations. All three solo, Ziegler adding moments of a walking bass line throughout.

"Fuga Y Misterio, as its title suggests, is a modern fugue, crisply beginning with Ziegler, followed by Sinesi and then Castro. A second passage, played simultaneously, introduces a new theme, followed by solos that lead to a subtle ritard. The final section restates the second theme, played by Castro and Sinesi in unison as Ziegler darts playfully in and out. This is true world music, a wonderful example of how jazz today encompasses such an incredible variety of ideas and cultures.

"Planufer Milonga begins pensively with tapping wood, piano notes and bandoneon sounds. The samba-esque melody is immediately followed by Sinesi's beautiful arpeggiated guitar work. His solo is equally impressive, presenting rapid lines full of tone and wonder. Ziegler and Castro add their own displays, enhanced by sections of ensemble magic where ideas coincide as if out of thin air. Ensemble dialogue does not get much better than this, no matter what the style or instrumentation.

Throughout the set, technical displays are abundant. However, the portrayal of each tune's uniqueness remains paramount, and these gentlemen do it superbly. The recording quality is on even par, displaying each instrument in its proper context while blending their voices to perfection. Definitely worth a good listen!

Visit Pablo Ziegler on the web.

Track Listing: La Rayuela; Flor de Lino; Chin Chin; La Fundicion; Milonga del Adios; Bajo Cero; Yuyo Verde; Planufer Milonga; Los Mareados; Fuga Y Misterio.

Personnel: Pablo Ziegler: piano; Quique Sinesi: acoustic guitar; Walter Castro: bandoneon.

Title: Bajo Cero | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Zoho Music

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