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Guillermo Klein - Jazz Composers Forum

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TICKETS ON SALE AT CINE-TEATRO CONSTANTINO NERYABOUT JAZZ COMPOSERS FORUMSEE ALL PROGRAM
  • Guillermo Klein
  • Guillermo Klein

    (AR)
     
    The question of whether the music of Argentine Guillermo Klein is jazz or not is not really important (he himself asserts that he’s not a jazz composer). What is surprising in the music he writes for his ensemble is the sheer individuality of his style, which does not fit into any genre, coming from a musician trained at Berklee (Boston) and working with outstanding soloists from the New York scene of the 1990s. This ensemble includes names like Jeff Ballard on drums, Chris Cheek on saxophone, Ben Monder on guitar and Miguel Zenón on saxophone, to name just a few of the most recognizable. And none of the music played by Los Guachos – the name by which the ensemble is known – resembles anything these performers have played in their renowned artistic careers.
     
    So what leads all these musicians to play devotedly Klein’s music, which insists on avoiding commercial success? Probably the fact that they consider his to be one of the most unique voices in the field of composition, with an original rhythmic approach that derives from traditional Argentine rhythms and explores challenging metrics – so says Ben Monder. Or the fact that it is a community band, where there is no fee for the leader and they often play just for fun – a testament to the leader. What is indisputable is that Klein earned the appreciation of top New York musicians during the period in which he appeared regularly at clubs in the city, until leaving in 2000. Since then he has lived in Argentina and Barcelona, but regularly returns to New York to present music written for Los Guachos.
     
    As a music student, Guillermo Klein absorbed the music of Bartók, Ginastera and Bach, then discovered Duke Ellington and Wayne Shorter in Boston, when he was taking his degree in composition. All of this can be heard in his music: just think of a theme like “Vaca”, which begins with a popular Argentine melody and culminates in excerpts from a piece by György Ligeti. Or the songs that are sung by the composer himself, as can be heard on the latest album Carrera, released in 2012. Here, arrangements of classical Argentine music of the twentieth century, tango and complex but natural sounding metric challenges can also be found, just as the presence of these rhythms in popular music feels natural. Or even the use of medieval techniques such as the hoquetus taken to the extreme when a melody is divided note by note between different instruments. Klein’s music is always meticulous, but what transpires is a robust clarity and meaning that do not take long to win over the listener.
     
    Born in Buenos Aires in 1970, Guillermo Klein had no musical history in the family. He discovered his talent at grade school and studied guitar and piano. He played rock guitar and was expelled from the conservatory for having difficulty reading. He entered Berklee College of Music in Boston to study composition, a subject he has taught in the Basque Country in recent years – at the Musikene School of Music.
     
     
     
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