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Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra: Cordoba

Dan Bilawsky By

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Córdoba is the name of an Argentinean province—and its capital city—but it's even more than that to bassist-composer Pedro Giraudo, whose Córdoba is a wonderful confluence of rural and urban elements, folkloric rhythmic traditions and modern writing for large ensemble. Giraudo grew up in Córdoba, and the hustle and bustle of the city's atmosphere is certainly on display in his music, but that's only half of the picture. He spent his summers living a simpler life in the countryside and brings this peaceful, back-to-the earth attitude to his music as well.

While some might be tempted to call this twelve-piece aggregation a "little big band," that title would diminish the scope of Giraudo's music. His use of careening instrumental textures, dovetailing riffs, shifting terra firma and individualistic solo voices helps to make his group a true jazz orchestra, in the best sense of the term. Giraudo takes this band on an eye-opening journey through his world, and each member acts as one piece of a colorful puzzle. This odyssey contains odd-metered music with intensely vibrant sounds and driving rhythms ("Parte II," "Pueblo"), graceful and reflective ruminations of a peaceful nature ("Latente"), and songs that marry Giraudo's personality with a Maria Schneider-esque savoir faire ("Sol Naciente").

Giraudo's bass is always at the center of the action, but that doesn't mean the spotlight is always pointed in his direction. He's apt to steal the show with an acoustic bass solo ("Sol Naciente") or set the orchestra up with a spicy electric bass riff ("Duende Del Mate"), but he also knows when to turn the spotlight on the fine musicians that he brought into the fold. Will Vinson's soprano saxophone work always stand out and, while the lack of soloist information makes it hard to give credit where credit is due, both trumpeters (Jonathan Powell and Tatum Greenblatt) and trombonists (Ryan Keberle and Mike Fahie) are superb as they bring out the natural flavors in Giraudo's arresting compositions. Giraudo's unique skills in spinning a Latin latticework of rhythm and creating kaleidoscopic collisions of wonder help to make Córdoba a locale worth exploring.

Track Listing: Visitas [Visits]; Pueblo [Village]-Parte I, Parte II and Parte III; Sol Naciente [Sun Rising]; Duende Del Mate [The Dwarf Of Mate]; A La Escuela [The Road To School]; Latente [Dormant]

Personnel: Will Vinson: alto saxophone; soprano saxophone; flute; Todd Bashore: alto saxophone, flute; Luke Batson: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute; Carl Maraghi: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Jonathan Powell: trumpet; Tatum Greenblatt: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ryan Keberle: trombone; Mike Fahie: trombone; Jess Jurkovic: piano; Jeff Davis: drum set; Tony De Vivo: cajón; Pedro Giraudo: acoustic bass, electric bass.

Title: Cordoba | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Zoho Music


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