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Coti Coti
Cuarteto Nahui
No recording details supplied
CUGATE CL005 [49:05]

Cuarteto Nahui is a Mexican saxophone quartet, whose members met while studying at Veracruz University and founded their quartet in 2017. This is their debut album, and it comes in the Clasicos Latinos series from Cugate. Their name means ‘four’ in the Nahuatl language, which was the language of Aztec Mexico before the conquest. They aim to perform traditional and popular music and also chamber music written for the combination. Their album title Coti Coti seems to mean Ticking.

They offer here a programme of Mexican and Latin-American music (though Ryszard Siwy was a Polish émigré to Mexico), using arrangements, where necessary, by Johan Van Der Linden, formerly of the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet. Their playing is tight and controlled, without the stickiness that can affect saxophones, with a pure tone and fine rhythmic verve. At times you could almost imagine that the soprano saxophone was a clarinet, as Flores’ timbre is so pure. The bass is always firm and clear. This is certainly classical playing.

Of the twelve pieces here, half are by Astor Piazzolla, and these are nicely varied, as well as being mixed in with works by others. Adios Nonino begins dreamily before settling into a brisk tango. Michelangelo 70 is quick but quiet. Milonga Del Angel has a rambling start before it gets into its stride. Verano Porteño features percussive thumps and a driving rhythm – it is one of the longest pieces here. Of the works by others, I was particularly taken by Convergencias, a gentle piece with a rocking rhythm, Fantaseando Sobre El Coti Coti, which features a perky little tune which starts innocently and then goes rather wild. The final Estampitas Jarochas actually starts as a waltz before switching into common time like the other pieces.

This is an attractive programme, nicely delivered and appealing to those like the classical saxophone. It is a shame that it is still regarded as a fringe instrument in the classical music world, though this is beginning to change. The sound is good, but no recording details are provided and there is also no booklet to tell us more about the composers. Nevertheless, despite the short measure, this is a rewarding disc.

Stephen Barber

Alvaro Carrillo Alarcon: Malagueña Y Pinotepa Nacional [2:58]
Astor Piazzolla: Adios Nonino [5:46]
Astor Piazzolla: Michelangelo 70 [2:57]
Marcelino Guerra: Convergencias [3:54]
Ryszard Siwy: Fantaseandro Sobre El Coti Coti [6:40]
Astor Piazzolla: Contabajeandro [3:08]
Astor Piazzolla: La Muerte Del Angel [3:18]
Osvaldo Ferrés: Con Tres Palabras [2:35]
Astor Piazzolla: Milonga Del Angel [5:36]
Astor Piazzolla: Verano Porteño [6:30]
D. Perez Prado: Qué Rico Mambo [1:54]
Traditional: Estampitas Jarochas [4:46]
Ernesto Flores (soprano saxophone), Isaac Eli Nazareth López Cruz (Alto Saxophone), Santiago Ortiz Lira (Tenor Saxophone), César Arroyo Ladrón de Guevara (Baritone Saxophone)



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