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Dino Saluzzi: Responsorium

Elliott Simon By

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A sincere presentation of deep cultural roots within a modern context, Responsorium envelops the listener with its honesty, warmth and deep textures. The bandoneon, a button accordion that is closer in timbre to an organ, has a rich sonority that is capable of creating a powerfully arresting soundscape. In the hands of Argentinian master Dino Saluzzi, the instrument is like a master bluesman's well-worn guitar through which he expresses a wide range of emotions with subtle coloration and intriguing harmonies. Saluzzi's son, acoustic guitarist Josè Maria Saluzzi, and top Swedish jazz bassist Palle Danielsson are able to blend in with and play off of these unique stylings to construct an hour-long session that allows for artful improvisations amidst absorbing moods.

The trio creates high energy at low volume and produces music with an outwardly unhurried feel that belies its inherent tension. The lovely melodies of "Cuchara" and "Mònica," played on bandoneon, lull while guitar and bass softly arrive to take the piece through elegant improvisations, making for a quiet unease each time that the theme is restated. The bandoneon's solo church organ chordal abilities are showcased on "Pampeana Mapu," while "Responso por la Muerte de Cruz" opens with a graceful guitar later joined by bandoneon and bass that leisurely push the piece through multiple changes.

Within this context, the playing can also be fiery, as on "Dele..., Don!!", with its authoritative bandoneon/guitar duet, and "Vienen del Sur los Recuerdos," featuring an increasingly quick complex meshing among the trio that culminates in an energetic finish. Owing to the consistent voicing, there is a deceptive surface simplicity that also makes this a lovely ambient soundtrack. Active listening however reveals complex compositional structures borne of a profound ethnic experience that maintains a delicate balance amongst divergent emotions.

Track Listing: A mi hermano Celso; Monica; Responso por la muerte de Cruz; Dele..., Don!!!; Reprise: Los hijos de Fierro; La peque

Personnel: Dino Saluzzi: bandoneon; Palle Danielsson: bass; Jos

Title: Responsorium | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: ECM Records

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