Argentinian pianist-composer-educator Pablo Ablanedo led about twenty years ago an octet of New York-based musicians that featured clarinetist Anat Cohen, violinist Jenny Scheinman, sax players Chris Cheek and Jerome Sabbagh, guitarist Ben Monder, bassist Fernando Huergo, and drummer Franco Pinna, all just finished their studies at the Berklee College of Music. This ensemble recorded «From Down There» (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2001). Twenty years later, the same musicians, now leading international careers and scattered around the globe, were re-united by Ablanedo to play his new compositions on «Chistreza». Trumpeter Diego Urcola replaced Avishai Cohen who could not make the trip from India.
Ablanedo’s compositions for the re-united ensemble reflect his universal jazz language as well as his gift for strong and almost effortless melodic textures, carefully arranged for the ensemble. He says that his music searches for «proof of a resonating, human experience», and, indeed, his thoughtful, harmonious arrangements highlight the distinct individual voices and the way that all musicians resonate together.
There are subtle Latin nuances in Ablanedo’s music, but most of all his music radiates a sense of bright optimism and gentleness. Ablanedo manages to keep intimate and organic dynamics throughout the eight short compositions of «Chistreza» and employs the ensemble to sketch light and gentle textures, but with no attempt to push it too far out of its comfort zones. The title piece, with its enigmatic, cinematic qualities and the beautiful solos of Urcola and Monder, and the lyrical and touching «Ti mi Do» are the most impressive pieces here.
Pablo Ablanedo (p), Anat Cohen (cl), Jenny Scheinman (vio), Chris Cheek (ts, ss), Jerome Sabbagh (ts, ss), Diego Urcola (tp), Ben Monder (g), Fernando Huergo (el.b), Franco Pinna (dr), Daniel Ian Smith (s)