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Rodrigo Faina and Change Ensemble: Different Roots

Hrayr Attarian By

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Rodrigo Faina and Change Ensemble: Different Roots
The cohesive and captivating Different Roots is Rotterdam- based guitarist and composer Rodrigo Faina's cinematic debut for the Red Piano label. For this six-part suite, Faina draws inspiration from three literary works from his native Argentina, two by Julio Cortazar and one by Jorge Luis Borges. On this genre-defying release, Faina also conducts the Change Ensemble which consists of several accomplished European, primarily Dutch, musicians.

In fact, Faina utilizes the orchestra as a single unit at times and highlights the individual members at others, thus creating a dynamic and vibrant flow. For instance, "Deep, Dark and Blue" opens with languid and haunting woodwind refrains, floating over drummer Marcos Baggiani's crashing cymbals and restless beats. The solemn and moving melody is rich in mysticism, as pianist Folkert Oosterbeek's lullaby-like solo breaks to the surface with shimmering tones. A graceful return to the main theme ushers in the brighter conclusion.

Elsewhere, "At Night" starts off with vocalist Fanny Alofs reciting, in English, Cortazar's "Speech of the Bear." After this sublime prelude the orchestra performs the equally magical composition, out of which emerges flugelhornist Gerard Kleijn's mesmerizing improvisation. Subtly dramatic, the tune progresses with a narrative tension, as individual brass, woodwind and strings emerge like waves out of the sea and fold back into it.

In contrast, the almost Baroque "If I'm To Live" has an expectant and sombre ambience with Alof's singing giving it a sacred, hymn-like quality. Saxophonist Nils van Haften extemporizes with understated passion, and lets loose serpentine lines which meander within the strings and percussion with agility and elegance.

The album closes with a bonus track, "Dreams," which Faina penned and the Metropole Orkest, with conductor Jules Buckley, interpret. The symphonic piece is peppered with eastern motifs and has a thrilling duel between strings and brass. Single instruments, such as guitar and bass, emerge with brief and poignant soliloquies and then seamlessly fade into the collective sound.

Faina has created a unique work with Different Roots, one which fuses together elements of both European and American (North and South) traditions. Jazzy spontaneity, western classical rigour and the wistful lyricism of Argentinian music make for a magical and a close-knit whole. This recording is an auspicious start to Faina's apparently brilliant career.

Track Listing

Opening; Deep, Dark and Blue; At Night; A Room Full Of People; An Installment Of Time; If I'm To Live; Deep, Dark and Blue (alternate version); Dreams (bonus track).

Personnel

Rodrigo Faina: composer/conductor; Fanny Alofs: voice / vocals; Nils van Haften: saxophone; Gerard Kleijn: trumpet; Guillermo Celano: guitar, electric; Marcos Baggiani: drums; Folkert Oosterbeek: piano; Jules Buckley: composer/conductor; Daniel Quiles Cascant: trombone; Dave Kutz: tuba; Victor Belmonte: trombone, bass; Erwin ter Bogt: trumpet; Marc Kaptijn: trumpet; Stefanie Liedtke: bassoon; Iman Spaargaren: saxophone, tenor; Kees Krabben: saxophone, alto; Paul van der Feen: saxophone; Lars Wouters: clarinet; Ilse Eijsink: clarinet, bass; Marieke Franssen: flute.

Additional Instrumentation

Clemens van der Feen: double bass ; Jasper Le Clercq: violin; Nina Hitz: cello; Rodrigo Faina: electric guitar.

Album information

Title: Different Roots | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Red Piano Records

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