THE PABLO ABLANEDO OCTET(O)
The Pablo Ablandeo Octet(o) is a Boston-based group which showcases the original compositions and arrangements of Pablo in a style which has been describes as “definitely jazz, but distinctively Argentinian.” Named the Octet(o) to make sense in Spanish as well as English the band features Fernando Huergo (bass) and Franco Pinna (drums and bombo leguero), who have both played on all of Pablo’s albums, including Fresh Sounds’ 10th anniversary release, The Sound of New York Jazz Underground (FSNT 2004). Rounding out the rhythm section are Eric Hofbauer on guitar (and co-production for CNM), Bertram Lehmann on percussion and composer Pablo Ablanedo on the piano. The Octet(o)’s wind section is Fernando Brandao on flutes, Daniel Ian Smith on tenor and soprano saxophones, Kelly Roberge on tenor sax and clarinet, and Phil Grenadier on trumpet. Special guests include Katie Viqueira on voice and Greg Hopkins on trumpet.
In December 2012 the Octet(o) released Recontradoble (CNM 023) on the Creative Nation Music label. ReContraDoble is Pablo’s first independent recording, made possible thanks to the success of a Kickstarter project during the spring of 2012. The name ReContraDoble refers to two pairs of voices that are always moving in contrary motion like distorted mirror imagines of each other. This compositional device gave birth to two pieces on the album, ReContraDoble and Antiphona. Both pieces are based in a peculiar Argentinian folk bimodal scale.
|Composing and arranging this album, Ablanedo was specially concerned with each composition’s form and, in particular, its relationship to the solo parts. On ReContraDoble, the melody and the bass/drum solo share the same space. They are bound together from beginning to end, creating a playful and irregular interlocking pattern. On Silence, Charlie Haden’s composition is revealed layer by layer until the tune emerges in the center of the track, vanishing the opposite way it came in, a mirror image of the first section. In Departido, three soloists come and go, trading the melody and solo parts. Antiphona leaves open space for the trumpet to fully explore the written bimodal voicings, which are played freely by the guitar and later delineated by the horns. La Vaga’s solo is based on a four bar section that expands and contracts, gradually unveiling the complete chord progression. On Como Te Quiero, there is an open vamp in which the four wind instruments mirror each other’s lines. Almita passes through an expansive passage of chord and key changes; as does Mirando al Cielo, whose first solo starts with a free-written cadenza for the first soloist to depart from. Las Buenas Nuevas and Norwegian Wood follow a more traditional solo form. The former more or less follows the song’s structure and the latter includes a 12-bar blues solo section.|
THE VARIABLE DENSITY SOUND ORCHESTRA
The Variable Density Sound Orchestra is veteran Boston-based guitarist/composer Garrison Fewell’s newest working ensemble. Whenever possible, this international group features charter members Roy Campbell (trumpet and flute), Achille Succi (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), Eric Hofbauer (guitar), John Voigt (bass) and Miki Matsuki (drums), all of whom appear on its self-titled February 2009 debut.
As the band’s name implies, its original music explores a wide range of textures and interactions. “The goal,” Fewell explains, “is to create balance, not allowing individual soloists, collective instant composing or pre-composed material to dominate for too long.”
Fewell actively shapes the ensemble’s music with the other musicians. The 10 tracks on their debut, which range from completely improvised to original compositions with a stronger framework for individual expression, take their inspiration from longstanding interests such as ancient cultures, spirituality, and the music of Albert Ayler, Anthony Braxton and Sun Ra.
“Guitarist Garrison Fewell has never stopped moving forward on his musical journey from accomplished post-bop guitarist to free-jazz explorer,” writes music journalist Ed Hazell in the liner notes for Variable Density Sound Orchestra. “Here, on his most fully realized and personal recording in the free jazz idiom to date, you can still hear the thoughtfulness, tenderness, and intimacy; careful listening; and the rigorous construction of line and feel for melody that have marked all his albums. The Variable Density Sound Orchestra is a group well suited to realizing Garrison’s concepts and compositions.”
Since the release of its first record in early 2009, the band has played a number of gigs in Boston and New York with varying line-ups.
Its second recording, Sound Particle 47 (CNM016), was released in September 2010. It features additional personnel (all the original members plus trombonist Steve Swell, tenor saxophonist Kelly Roberge and bassist Dmitry Ishenko), as well as new compositions by Fewell, members of the group and frequent collaborator John Tchicai.
THE BLUEPRINT PROJECT
Featuring HAN BENNINK
Saxophonist Jared Sims, guitarist Eric Hofbauer and pianist Tyson Rogers, now in their 30’s, first met at Boston’s New England Conservatory in 1997 and have since each worked with some of the most respected names in creative improvised music.
Together as The Blueprint Project they augment their original compositions and highly developed interaction with older, more established rhythm section players (thus far the list includes Han Bennink, Cecil McBee and Matt Wilson) to create a consciously eclectic and intergenerational ensemble that is constantly reinventing itself.
Critics have noted the group’s “witty, contemporary sounding improvisation” (James Hale, DownBeat) and “intelligent, incisively crafted compositions” (Andy Hamilton, Jazz Review), and called its music “serious fun” (Julian Cowley, The Wire ), “full of striking rhythms and harmonic ideas” (Ted Kane, JazzReview.com) and “nothing short of glorious…music that is a working definition of just how uplifting human creativity can be” (Nic Jones, AllAboutJazz.com).
“They are talented, well educated, thoroughly modern,” wrote Village Voice reviewer Tom Hull. “They can do post-bop, post-Monk, post-Ornette; they can play gospel and tango and free. One of the few jazz groups that feels communal.”
Originally called Pendulabellum when it released its first CD in 1998, The Blueprint Project has since released two more recordings, The Blueprint Project (Creative Nation Music, 2004) and People I Like (Creative Nation Music, 2007) featuring legendary Dutch drummer, Han Bennink.