203

Guillermo Klein: Una Nave

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Guillermo Klein: Una Nave Some albums are simply a collection of discrete songs; others are broader works where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. With Una Nave, Argentinean pianist Guillermo Klein has created a boldly sweeping album that transcends its individual components. While these sixteen pieces can be assessed in terms of stylistic roots, specific performances, and compositional élan, these considerations are really secondary to the greater impact they have when experienced as a 66-minute whole.

Klein, a mainstay on the New York scene through the '90s until he returned home to Buenos Aires in '00, doesn't neglect the folkloric elements of his Argentinean roots. But they are so completely subsumed that one has to look more closely for them, although the rhythm-centric nature of Una Nave does have a clear Latin precedent. Still, with the powerful strength of his rhythm section—bassist Matias Mendez and drummer Daniel "Pipi Piazolla—there are points where Klein's sometimes complex compositions take on a kind of fusion energy, albeit—with the exception of Mendez's electric bass and Klein's occasional use of Fender Rhodes—in a completely acoustic context, and without the bombast and almost inherent overplay.

Still, fusion doesn't adequately describe the music. "Venga, a maelstrom that begins with a potent riff-based beginning that leads to freer interplay by its end, contrasts sharply with the lighter but no less compelling "Flores —which would be a waltz if it weren't for the dropped beat at the end of every fourth bar—where Klein's unschooled and smoky vocals introduce rich counterpoint by the horns, before dissolving into an almost ambient outro by Klein's Rhodes and Pablo Klein's classical guitar.

Klein's orchestral musical universe sometimes combines seemingly dichotomous elements. Nahuel Litwin's classical guitar solo on "Luminarias (tango) appears at odds with the rhythm section's funky backdrop, and seems even more unlikely an accompaniment to the bright horn arrangement that follows; still, everything somehow gels and nothing feels out of place.

Within the compositional construction of Una Nave, improvisation is an important element; but solos often seem so integrated that it's sometimes difficult to know if one is actually hearing one, or if it's just Klein's challenging writing, which often combines lyrical beauty and greater abstraction within the confines of a single piece.

It's remarkable that pieces as chaotic as "Argentina, which introduces both the album and Klein's occasionally aggressive piano style, can cohabitate with the elegiac "Luci, a duet for piano and voice; the suite-like "Miminashi Yama, which places a potent tenor solo in the middle of a lengthily-arranged through-composition; and the tabla-driven reprise of "Flores (India) at the end of the album, also featuring Indian singing by Saindevi. But that's just a testament to Klein's remarkable ability to envision a larger narrative arc.

As effective as the individual compositions are, their contextual placement creates an even more vivid and profound experience that makes Una Nave one of the best albums of this year, or any year for that matter.


Track Listing: Argentina; Nave; Fiu; Venga; Flores; Luminarias (tango); Piernas; Niza (milonga); El Fin; La Ultima; Luci; Miminashi Yama; El Rio '02; Fascinating Rhythm-Moliendo Caf

Personnel: Juan Cruz de Urquza: trumpet; Richard Nant: trumpet, percussion, vocal (14), background vocals; Ricardo Dominguez: tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet; Nahuel Litwin: guitar; Matias Mendez: bass, vocal (14), background vocals; Guillermo Klein: piano, Fender Rhodes, guitar, vocals; Daniel "Pipi" Piazzolla: drums; Sergio Verdinelli: drums (1,6,12); Alvaro Torres: Fender Rhodes (7); Pablo Klein: guitar (5); Silvia Aramayo, Matias Conte, Javier Calequi: background vocals (7); Tsai: tablas (16); Saindevi: vocal (16)

Title: Una Nave | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin" CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "A Multitude of Angels" CD/LP/Track Review A Multitude of Angels
by John Kelman
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Magnetic" CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations" CD/LP/Track Review Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "I Know Who I Am" CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.