The first time that Brad Mehldau
covered Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" on Largo
(Warner Bros, 2002), the idea of jazz interpretations of alternative rock songs was a bit more of a novelty even if a concept that Mehldau had long embraced. That said, taking on a double-disc set dedicated to the output of one pop entity is typically reserved for a group with a body of quality work such as The Beatles. Argentinian pianist Marco Sanguinetti takes on the task of reimaging Radiohead with Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
Sanguinetti had established his distinctive style with a solo effort Improvisiones
(MDR, 2005), emphasizing percussive effects and recurring variations of phrases. He further developed his strong sense of lyricism with El Otro
(Acqua, 2011) while sustaining a dense chordal attack, and with 8
(Acqua Records, 2014) Sanguinetti added levels of complex textures to his impressive skill set. None of these influences are lost on Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
where Sanguinetti transforms the Radiohead collection into his own stand-alone achievement.
The album takes its translated title from the song "How to Disappear Completely" and the songs spam the Radiohead catalog from Pablo Honey
(XL Recordings, 1993) through A Moon Shaped Pool
(XL Recordings, 2016). Radiohead's Boy A
, from the same label in 2000, was noted for incorporating elements from a variety of genres, including jazz. Artistically, Radiohead were being touted as heir apparent to Pink Floyd, but with added pomp and muscle.
Sanguinetti begins the first disc with a high-energy line of attack on "Airbag" showcasing some fine stick work from Tomás Babjaczuk. The rock beat of the opener is succeeded by a fast-paced "Everything in Its Right Place" where Sanguinetti adds a smattering of Latin flavor. "Scatterbrain" opens as a ballad before exploding with the pianist's signature percussive block chords. "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" is first of three Milena L'Argentiere vocals and it is a heartfelt, pensive highlight of the album as is her reading of the title track. Popular Radiohead classics such as "Creep" and their most recent hit, "Burn the Witch" bear strong resemblance to the original versions but with stripped-down piano adding to the appreciation of the initial compositions.
The added value of turntablist DJ Migma is debatable but a relatively small cavil. On the opposite end of the spectrum we have the vocal contributions of L'Argentiere; well-placed and very appealing, they add a level of clarity to the lyrics when compared to the gauzy singing style of Thom Yorke. The improvising is inventive enough to put a fresh face on these tunes without obscuring the original themes. Overall, Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
is an ambitious, different, and impressive success and should add to Sanguinetti's growing appeal.