|"Following his critically-acclaimed 2011 ZOHO release Córdoba, Giraudo has created another masterwork with the daring and immensely rewarding Cuentos. He treats his listeners to ravishingly detailed expressions of Argentine music forms and themes while standing solidly in the tradition of such North American masters as Duke Ellington, Thad Jones and Gil Evans. The results are as uniformly innovative as they are commanding. A true milestone of contemporary big band writing!" - Mark Holston, JAZZIZ and LATINO magazines|
Pedro Giraudo, the multi-talented Argentina-born, New York City-based musician, knows from firsthand experience that achieving a high level of artistic excellence can’t be done overnight. And when the results are as stylistically fresh and orchestrally revolutionary as the six bracing tracks on Cuentos, even more time and an extra measure of loving attention are required. So, after over a decade of experimenting with large ensembles of various sizes and configurations, Giraudo knew when the moment had arrived to put what he’d learned to the test. Cuentos, his first-ever recording featuring a conventional, full-size 16-piece big band, showcases the talents of many of New York’s most in-demand instrumentalists and allows the leader’s composing and arranging prowess to take center stage. The results are as uniformly innovative as they are commanding.
Cuentos (“Stories”) is Giraudo’s second release on ZOHO Music and his sixth as a leader. His previous project for the label, Córdoba (ZOHO ZM 201106), released in June 2011, was widely celebrated among both fans of contemporary large ensemble writing and jazz critics. DownBeat Magazine lauded his music as "an opulent listening experience of modern, orchestral jazz, brimming with passionate improvisations, deliberate contrapuntal melodies and plush harmonies.” With fleshed out trombone and trumpet sections and a percussionist in the mix, Giraudo’s new Big Band is today capable of delivering even more stunning results.
“This larger formation is especially meaningful to me, since it gives me a depth of resources for my composing and arranging,” the bassist comments. “I have a broader range of possibilities for combining instruments, a wider dynamic range, and an expanded ability to achieve emotional impact. It also has made me feel the huge weight and inspiration of the North American big band tradition. In a way I now feel that I’m working in the territory mastered by Duke Ellington, Sammy Nestico, Thad Jones, Gil Evans and many others whom I deeply admire.”
Giraudo arrived in New York 19 years ago from his native Córdoba, Argentina’s second largest city, eager to learn the language of jazz at the source. He tackled the challenge both academically, earning a Master’s Degree from the City College of New York, and studying with legendary bassist Ron Carter, as well as in performance. In short order, the young bassist had the opportunity to perform with a wide range of jazz luminaries, from Paquito D’Rivera and Kenny Garrett to Branford Marsalis and Regina Carter. He recently collaborated with countryman Carlos Franzetti, the renowned arranger and composer, and salsa legend Rubén Blades on the Latin Grammy Award-winning album Tangos. Over the past decade, Giraudo’s 12-piece jazz orchestra, a showcase for his composing and orchestrating talents, has become an increasingly important presence on the city’s jazz club scene. Most recently, his Big Band emerged, setting a new standard for orchestral experimentation and excellence.
Cuentos tells its stories vividly, employing a vast array of stylistic nuances to frame Giraudo’s latest collection of new works. The set opener, “Muñeca” (Doll), is an exhilarating blend of primordial rhythms, based on the Venezuelan merengue, featuring trombone soloist Ryan Keberle and harmonically dense orchestral colors that emphasize the low brass. “Angela Suite,” a riveting four movement work dedicated to the leader’s daughter, is a case study in how Giraudo ingeniously integrates into his arrangements the rhythmic pulse of such little known Argentine folkloric styles as zamba,cueca and chacarera. “Push Gift” embodies the full scope of the arranger’s artistry, from the classical-like formality of the piano’s ostinato construction to the tune’s swaggering brass section attacks and the rustling undercurrent of percussion. “Nube” (Cloud), the session’s closer, is a celebration of unabashed, introspective balladry.
“I believe that ultimately, music should be an emotional experience,” Giraudo comments, “and this expanded formation, featuring some of the finest musicians with whom I’ve ever worked, has given me a richness of resources for which I’m grateful.”
Booking: Ellen Azorin
Cantaloupe Music Productions