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Dino Saluzzi Group

Juan Condori

985 9237 (ECM 1978)

 

 

 


1. La Vuelta De Pedro Orillas
2. Milonga De Mis Amores
3. Juan Condori
4. Memoria
5. La Parecida
6. Inside
7. Soles / La Camposanteña
8. Las Cosas Amadas
9. A Juana, Mi Madre
10. Los Sauces
11. Improvisación
12. Chiriguano
All compositions by Dino Saluzzi, except Milonga De Mis Amores by Pedro Laurenz, Soles by José Maria Saluzzi, and Improvisación by Dino Saluzzi Group
Dino Saluzzi – bandoneon
Felix ‘Cuchura’ Saluzzi – saxophones, clarinet
José Maria Saluzzi – acoustic & electric guitars
Matias Saluzzi – double-bass, bass guitar
U.T. Ghandi – drums, percussion
Rec. October 2005, Estudios Moebio, Buenos Aires

 

I first came across the melancholy expressiveness of Dino Saluzzi on his 1988 album Andina (ECM 1375) on which he also plays flute. The bittersweet tango sound of the bandoneon is of course infused with its own melancholic, wood-smoke infused nostalgia, but Saluzzi’s sound and taste in music is often minor in key and expression. Even where you might expect a more up-beat character, as in the famous Milonga De Mis Amores, there is a feeling of the story being told through misty recollections rather than being played out live before our excited ears and eyes. While I was less impressed by Saluzzi’s album ‘Senderos’(ECM 1845) with drummer Jon Christensen, I do admit to having a soft spot for his honest music making, and have an admiration for anyone able to play the bandoneon at all, let alone with Saluzzi’s grace and creativity with that least logical and most impossible of instruments.

The sonic fingerprint of ECM is ever present on this album, with all of the instruments bathed in glorious resonance. Saluzzi’s bandoneon is quite closely miked for much of the time, so that at some points the left and right hand notes hocket between your speakers as if the instrument was several metres wide. Depending on your hi-fi setup, you can close your eyes and imagine a Saluzzi with really long arms.

Surreal acoustic effects to one side, Dino Saluzzi has made this recording something of a family reunion, with only the drummer, U.T. Ghandi being a relative ‘outsider’, nonetheless having toured widely with the group before now. The reed horn player Felix Saluzzi is Dino’s brother, and these two have shared music as a common language since childhood. Guitarist José Maria Saluzzi is Dino’s son and Matias Saluzzi is Felix’s son, completing an ensemble whose synergy is borne out in the excellent, sensitively responsive playing on this CD.

The title track refers to a man who was a friend of the Saluzzi’s from Dino’s childhood in the village of Campo Santo in Northern Argentina. In many ways this composition sums up the work on this recording, with Dino relating his memories of the man and the time in music. "My first picture of him is when I was three or four… now we go back almost 70 years…this picture is inside of me like a dream… A wise, funny, warm-hearted man…"

I have never met Dino Saluzzi, but suspect that he has now become something like that ‘wise, funny, warm-hearted man’ of his memories. There is a certain quiet joy in a number like La Parecida, where the rock-steady rhythms come through, remaining like a mountain range when all the other instruments have fallen by the wayside. Comparisons with Piazzolla are inevitable, and the occasional descending bass line does momentarily recall his fellow countryman. Once learned, Dino Saluzzi’s musical language is however distinctive and very much his own.

I appreciate the variety of ensemble in this recording. Solo guitar, duets and trios between instruments, and great swathes where drums and percussion are silent make for a refreshing and enjoyable experience. The sound of the group as a whole is full and satisfying, and while the element of conventional ‘swing’ is something for which you can wait a long time here, the deep rhythmic and melodic souls of these musicians is ingrained into their performances. I must admit I had expected a little more from Improvisación, which is credited to the entire group, but is in fact a beautiful Dino solo with added percussion and one or two tentative squeaks from someone else towards the end. When the music does take off into more ‘traditional’ jazz regions, as in the main part of the final track Chiriguano, the group can show itself as a tightly disciplined unit, always with a strong element of subtle restraint which never breaks the spell of poetry in the recording. The music breathes with its own natural pace, like that of true folk music, which can sound fast, but rarely is in fact. In this case, the music sounds slow, but traverses hundreds of imaginary miles in mere minutes.

Dominy Clements
 

 
 



 



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