Stylistic Maneuvers

I've never been the kind of musician (or music fan) who feels the need to be exclusive in my tastes.  While it may surprise some of you who are more familiar with me writing about Haas or Carter, I'm just as likely to listen to Ke$ha or Chick Corea's "My Spanish Heart" without the slightest tinge of irony.

If I spend too long playing strictly concert hall music, I get a bit itchy.  I'm certainly listening to other stuff, like my recent obsession from an amazing super-group.

That's why the the beginnings of our collaboration with Julien Labro for an album on Azica Records have brought me musical energy just when I thought I was burnt out from a long concert season.

First of all, Julien sent us a new arrangement of this scorcher a few months back to start work on:

Given the mixed meters and quicksilver solo lines, it's a good thing we've had some time to absorb the tune.

I'll be honest, I'd never heard of any of the artists on this track before Julien sent it our way.  And, it's more of the same with a few other composers and tunes on the record.  That includes the thorny hubbub of Fernando Otero's "De Ahora en Màs" and a couple tunes by the incredibly talented Diego Schissi, whose adventures in nuevo tango have a flavor of Stravinsky.

It's not like I've never listened to Latin jazz before, but diving into the styles and listening with actually playing these different moods and grooves in mind has been an adventure in uncovering some really special musical personalities.

Our first shows with the new material are on Tuesday at the Clark Street location of Uncommon Ground and on the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society the following day.  Look for more shows this fall, and the album later in the concert season!

But, it's not our first time playing together and we'll be bringing back some familiar arrangements from familiar names: