If there is an actual sonic intersection between the natural world and music, then Navidad de los Andes, the collaborative recording between master bandoneonist and composer Dino Saluzzi, his younger brother, saxophonist Felix Saluzzi, and German cellist Anja Lechner has perhaps found it. The brothers have been playing music together for over 60 ...
If there is an actual sonic intersection between the natural world and music, then Navidad de los Andes, the collaborative recording between master bandoneonist and composer Dino Saluzzi, his younger brother, saxophonist Felix Saluzzi, and German cellist Anja Lechner has perhaps found it. The brothers have been playing music together for over 60 years; Lechner has been working with the elder Saluzzi since Kultrum in the mid-'90s. Felix and Lechner were both featured soloists on Saluzzi's 2009 orchestral recording El Encuentro. That said, these previous recordings were but preparation for Navidad de los Andes, a collection of "tunes" where the boundaries between compositional jazz and structured improvisation blur. These moody, wistful pieces reflect everything from the quality of light to the mountainous landscapes of the region to village dances to historical and imagined memory. As a concept, time, in all tenses is called upon to bear witness and act as a prophet. Western classical, jazz, and Andean folk musics meld into something wholly other. The tonal possibilities inherent in Lechner's instrument are given wide range; her sonorities moves from the bowed upper ranges of the instrument, before diving, in a single moment, into plucked lower registers. They point forward always, careful to acknowledge the immediate present and nod respectfully to the past. The bandoneon is the shimmering presence of the what has gone before. Its mournful chords and sprightly touches bear witness to change, illumine its impact, and accept it all with a heart of joy as well as grief. Felix's saxophone and clarinet, though they don't appear on every track, act as a bridge instrument. He creates song-like phrases as a way of finding gravity in the ethereal investigations of the other players, and brings them into the world quietly and authoritatively, as on the haunting "Sucesos." On the gorgeous "Requerdos de Bohemia," he manifests blues inside a tango melody. On "Variaciones Sobre una Melodía Popular de José L. Padul," his phrases underscore not only the original motifs, but sing of the newness discovered in them by Lechner and Dino in a spacious dance of slow but dramatic movements. While the music here is often brooding, it is never less than poetic, and often approaches the sublime. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi