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Dino Saluzzi: El Encuentro

Dan McClenaghan By

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On El Ecuentro, Argentine bandoneon master Dino Saluzzi teams with saxophonist brother Felix Saluzzi and cellist Anja Lechner in a meeting with Holland's Metropole Orchestra. It is Saluzzi's first recorded encounter with an orchestra, and his first ever live recording. More familiar ground for Saluzzi is his work with Lechner, on Ojos Negros (ECM, 2007), and Felix, on Juan Condori (ECM, 2006).

The initial impression of El Encuentro is: this is serious stuff. The four compositions, all by Saluzzi, progress at a stately pace. The Metropole Orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley, explores subtle shadings, different depths of shadows out of which Saluzzi's bandoneon emerges, sweet-toned, and as soulful and pretty a sound as can be. Orchestral ebbs give way to fluid Saluzzi/Lechner duets that are pensive and majestic.

Felix Saluzzi's tenor saxophone joins the lush mix on the seventeen-plus minute "Plegia Andina," adding a haunting tone to his brother's tangy sighs and Lechner's rich and mournful cello work in the caress of the diaphanous orchestral backdrop. The bandoneon—the accordion's half sibling and the center of the Argentine Tango—has, along with the saxophone, a feeling of the streets. Lechner's achingly beautiful cello and the orchestra is the concert hall. Throughout El Encuentro, a new world innocence dances in sultry fashion with old world sophistication and grandeur.

Multiple spins of El Encuentro seem to temper that "this is serious stuff" first impression. The mix of orchestral majesty with the simple joy of the bandoneon makes for a listening experience that need not be analyzed or broken down into component parts. It all sounds as natural as breathing, as if it's been here, beautifully, forever.

Track Listing: Vals de los dias (for bandoneon, violoncello and string orchestra); Plegaria Andina (for bandoneon, violoncello, saxophone and string orchestra); El Encuentro (for bandoneon, violoncello and string orchestra); Miserere (for bandoneon and string orchestra).

Personnel: Dino Saluzzi: bandoneon; Anja Lechner: violoncello (1-3); Felix Saluzzi: tenor saxophone (2); Julian Buckley: Metropole Orchestra conductor; Arlia de Ruiter: first violin; Alida Schat: first violin; Sarah Kock: first violin; Denis Koenders: first violin; David Peijenborgh: first violin; Pauline Terlouw: first violin; Seija Teeuwen: first violin; Merijn Rombout: second violin; Herman van Haaren: second violin; Wim Kok: second violin; Marianne van den Heuvel: second violin; Vera van der Bie: second violin; Carel den Hertog: second violin; Marielle Ponsen: second violin; Mieke Honingh: viola; Norman Jansen: viola; Julia Jowett: viola; Iris Schut: viola; Isabella Petersen: viola; Emile Visser: violoncello; Wim Grin: violoncello; Jascha Albracht: violoncello; Erik Winkelmann: double-bass; Arend Liefkes: double-bass.

Title: El Encuentro | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: ECM Records

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