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Original Release Date: February 11, 1976
Release Date: June 23, 2009
Copyright: ℗© 2009 LiquidJazz™
Total Length: 42:05
Produced by Nano Herrera
Reissue produced by Fernando Gelbard for LiquidJazz™
Recording engineer: Carlos Piriz (1975)
Recorded at Estudios Audion, Buenos Aires, December 1975
Cedar original vinyl LP denoising: Sean "Big P" Pennycook, London
Mastering: Fernando Gelbard & Mark Vincent, Multi Media Studios, Hollywood
Photography: Gianni Mestichelli (1975)
Art direction & Cover design: Maria Puga Lareo, New York
Under license from Phono Musical Argentina
Special thanks to Alfredo Radoszynski and Carlos Garber
In december 1975 Enrico Rava was in Buenos Aires, where he had familiy ties. The Italian trumpeter, then on his way to becoming one of the world's leading jazz musicians, was at that time well known, living in New York and associated with the free jazz avant-garde of the 1970's. He had been in Buenos Aires for the first time in 1966, as a member of soprano saxist Steve Lacy's quartet which also included two South Africans: bassist Johnny Dyani and drummer Louis Moholo. The quartet stayed there longer than expected because, not having been paid for its performance, it was stranded. The group eventually recorded an LP: The Forest and the Zoo. Rava's 1975 visit also brought about an album : Aga Taura Confab--El Convidado. The idea was to record the guest trumpeter with four of the very best Argentinean musicians: pianist Fernando Gelbard, bassist Adalberto Cevasco, drummer Néstor Astarita and percussionist Juan "Chango" Farías Gómez (who is better known simply as Chango Farías). This album, from now on called El Convidado, is a re-release of that legendary LP, for all purposes lost after its original release in 1975/76. Producer Fernando Gelbard negotiated the licensing from the master's owner for [...] LTD (BVI) for wordlwide ditribution. It is a restored version of the original album by super denoiser Sean "Big P" Pennycook (London), with added values: the until now unpublished recording session photos--photographer Gianni Mestichelli had fortunately kept all the original negatives--and the new artistic design of the album by talented singer, musician, producer and harmony partner María Puga Lareo. El Convidado was originally produced by the late and legendary Nano Herrera, friend of all musicians and a man of great musical taste, moved by an enormous love of jazz.
Label boss Carlos Garber and producer Nano Herrera gathered the personnel: a quintet made up of four qualified jazz musicians--Rava, Gelbard, Cevasco, Astarita-- and an equally qualified Argentinean folk musician with jazz affinities--Chango Farías, in what was possibly his first recorded jazz incursion. His being included in the group probably stems from the pervading fusion and avant-garde mood of the time, but also from the fact that some Argentinean jazzmen were experimenting with the idea of a jazz-local folk music fusion: Chango's tune "Enrico Seis Octavos" on this album is an illustration of that idea. I remember having seen Chango on scene in the 1960's surrounded by a "folk drums set" of his own design to play his inventive folk music and rhythms! The recording session that brought about El Convidado lasted for several hours: it was a wholly improvised business, though the results are there to prove that a jazz attitude yields unexpected and unpretentious beautiful music. The kind of fusion attempted in this album is a mixture of milesdavisish and free jazz avant-garde (listen to "Chico") but at the same time a nostalgic plunge into melodious tunes--"Darn That Dream" or "Até um dia"-- as a means of not losing the ties with a recent past and tradition.
The guest, in Spanish "El Convidado", Rava we have already introduced, but what about the other musicians?
Producer, pianist, flutist, keyboardist, composer--all around macher--Fernando Gelbard plays here a Steinway piano on "Darn That Dream", a duet with Rava, and a Fender Rhodes 1973 piano on the other numbers. Gelbard has always been a jazz buff and a jazz musician and a good one. For several years now he has been busy digging up recordings in which he was involved in Buenos Aires in the 60's and 70's, as a tribute to the Argentinean jazzmen of his generation (Gelbard was born in the 1940's), many of them also good friends of his. Those albums have not had a wide distribution and they certainly deserved a better fate. As a musician and/or producer, Gelbard has recorded or played with musicians of the caliber of Rob McConnell, Sam Most, Frank Collett, Phil Woods, Guido Basso, Carl Saunders, Jorge Calandrelli, Bob Florence, Gato Barbieri, Chivo Borraro among many others.
Adalberto Cevasco became internationally known as a member of Gato Barbieri's groups of the 1970's: he toured with Gato extensively, played at jazz festivals like Newport and Montreux and recorded two great albums by Gato: Latin America Chapter 1 and Latin America Chapter 2. Cevasco's talents have been also required by another master musician: Astor Piazzolla, who in 1974-1976 lead a group, the Electronic Octet, which included a majority of musicians with a jazz background. Another first rate musician, pianist, composer, arranger, conductor Lalo Schifrin took him as soloist in 1991 for two concerts with Argentina's National Symphony Orchestra. Cevasco has worked and recorded with yet another well known Argentinean musician: Roberto "Fats" Fernández, in two recordings that gathered the best jazz and tango local musicians together with saxist Bob Mintzer, drummer Buddy Williams, violinist Michal Urbaniak, pianist Jorge Dalto (who by the way was an Argentinean living in the United States).
Another jazz musician who has always been much attached to the music he loves is drummer Néstor Astarita--he has always played his best and very often with the best: suffice it be said he was Gato Barbieri's drummer before Gato left Argentina in the 1960's, and that he played with pianists Enrique Villegas and Baby López Furst (two great pianists from Argentina), besides having been Enrico Rava's drummer in 1974, with whom he made two albums. In Argentina and abroad Astarita has played with Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Herb Geller, Lalo Schifrin, Friedrich Gulda, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Dorham, Jorge Dalto, Cat Anderson, Charlie Mariano, Michel Legrand, Roy Eldrige, E. Hall, Wild Bill Davis.
Chango Farías Gómez is a percussionist, singer, arranger, composer. Primarily a folk musician, he has always been open minded and open eared, looking for ways of enriching his own music. Still in the 1970's he was regarded by many as an outsider: his music was considered inauthentic. But as much as Piazzolla, in the tango field, had to fight that kind of opposition from the public and in the end came out as a winner, so Chango Farías has gained recognition beyond barriers. He introduced a harmonic and rhythmic approach to Argentinean folk music that was jazz and XXth century music oriented. In 1982 he presented a show called "Los amigos de Chango" (Friends of Chango's) where the approach was improvisatory and free jazz oriented. He has been successful and his militantism has led him to become an important political figure whose main goal is the protection and advancement of music and culture in general.
What about the music in this album ?
"Un barco hasta el cielo" (Enrico Rava). Enrico Rava (trumpet), Fernando Gelbard (Fender Rhodes piano), Chango Farías Gómez (percussion), Néstor Astarita (drums) and Adalberto Cevasco (Fender bass). It gets started with drums and percussion, then bass and Fender Rhodes piano added, over which Rava plays freely until he states the theme, which the bass takes up. The theme is a rhythmic-melodic statement alternately found as a melodic or rhythmic element. Rava then plays short phrases around the theme, followed by a multi-note bout alternating with plaintive short phrases. Next Rava uses mordente and frullato effects until the bass takes over. There follows a bass solo partaken with the electric piano. In comes Rava again leading into a general dissolving of the thematic material, a certain pointillism, until the whole group dissolves slowly into silence.
"Darn That Dream" (Jimmy Van Heusen-Eddie DeLange). Enrico Rava (trumpet), Fernando Gelbard (Steinway piano).
This version of "Darn That Dream", the magnificent Jimmy Van Heusen's 1939 ballad, is a rarity since there are not that many trumpet-piano duets in the history of jazz. Furthermore Enrico Rava and Gelbard do achieve a beautifully poignant rendering of the tune. It is actually a solo by Rava, accompanied by robust Gelbard's pianisms. A short, very short delight.
"Até um dia" (João Donato). Enrico Rava (trumpet), Fernando Gelbard (Fender Rhodes piano), Chango Farías Gómez (percussion), Néstor Astarita (drums) and Adalberto Cevasco (bass). A tune by João Donato is always welcome, furthermore if it is interpreted the way it is here: with a bit of Brazilian taste, the funky help of Cevasco's electric bass and the all over love for its beauty shown by everyone. It's one of those Brazilian melodies reminiscent of a Latin bolero. Rava states the melody, then takes over the improvised part, in a boppish--with for instance a quotation of Miles Davis' "Four"--approach full of melodic content. The accompanists show their contentedness by adhering strictly to Rava's lyrical lead. Then in comes Gelbard with a deliberately delicate approach, as though his Fender Rhodes piano were a caressed vibraphone, before Rava's coming back lyrical at first then tongue in cheek "heavy."
"Chico" (Horacio Borraro). Enrico Rava (trumpet), Fernando Gelbard (Fender Rhodes piano), Chango Farías Gómez (percussion), Néstor Astarita (drums) and Adalberto Cevasco (bass). A multifaceted tune by Borraro. It begins with an ad lib part led by Rava's trumpet, which oscillates between a lyricism reminiscent of the rhapsodic side of Harry James, without James' schmaltz. Then there is an acceleration and the mood becomes more hectic it being Gelbard's turn to get into Rava's way, though it quickly turns into a Latin-Brazilian melodic phase, always led by Rava's trumpet, this time undisputedly, until Cevasco's bass has its turn. There follows a dialog Gelbard-Cevasco (Fender Rhodes-electric bass) that leads into a new phase: the Fender and the bass make it a walking bass straight ahead impro, Gelbard soloing in a classically jazzy straight ahead way, but then both musicians go into a less walking phase and it slowly turns into a ballad. Then Rava comes back straight ahead : the new part lies between a ballad and a more driving mood, while the rhythm section develops a sort of riff. More lyrical Rava until a new turn to ad libbing before, near the end, the seams burst out.
"Enrico Seis Octavos" (Chango Farías Gómez). Chango's voice opens the proceedings with a sort of baguala chant before his percussion and Cevasco's bass set the overall rhythmic frame: an Argentine chacarera rhythm. But there's also Cevasco's bass with surprising melodic-rhythmic turns, like a kind of grunt-sigh on an apoggiatura, imitating a plaintive human voice. The chacarera is a dance with African influenced rhythmic figures, from Argentina's north-west. Its 6/8 signature can also be looked as a 12/16 which is subdivided into four times 3/16, hence it has the typical Afro double feeling : the listener feels the simultaneous ternary (6/8) and binary (12/16=4x3/16) sides of the rhythm pattern. Rava's trumpet gets freely into the overall frame in a plaintive way, of course Rava himself acknowledges Miles' influence as well as Chet Baker's on his playing. Cevasco's bass sounds great here : like a madman playing very rational electric bass.
You may be reading these notes after getting acquainted with the music they purports to be an introduction to. I'm thus left to wish we agree that it was worth the listening. Let me tell you that if we dont' meet eye to eye, do we at least meet ear to ear?
Norberto Gimelfarb, Ballaigues, Switzerland