Pedro Giraudo Big Band: Cuentos
Pedro Giraudo on Acoustic Bass and Electric Basses
Alejandro Aviles on Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute
Todd Bashore on Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute
Luke Batson on Tenor Sax, Flute, Clarinet
John Ellis on Tenor Sax, Flute Clarinet
Carl Maraghi on Baritone Sax, Bass Clarinet
Jonathan Powell, Miki Hirose, Matt Jodrell, Josh Deutsch
on Trumpets and flugelhorns
Ryan Keberle, Mike Fahie, Mark Miller, Nate Mayland
Jess Jurkovic on Piano
Franco Pinna on Drums
Paulo Stagnaro on Percussion
Claudio Ragazzi, Guest Guitarist
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 12, 2016
This CD is a very impressive selection of six original compositions by the Argentine-born bassist, Pedro Giraudo. Giraudo has been favorably reviewed on these pages on several occasions, in live events and recordings, but Cuentos is his first recording for his big band. Equally impressive to the tunes is the expansive list of the crème de la crème of today’s standard and Latin jazz musicians, including Claudio Ragazzi, guest guitarist. It was difficult to choose from the nine mesmerizing tracks, but, per my standard format, four are featured below. The album includes mellow, as well as rambunctious tunes, each fusing atonal and harmonic passages. One particular composition, Angela Suite, expanding over four tracks, is named for Giraudo’s second daughter, to whom the recording is dedicated. One other track, called Push Gift, is dedicated to Giraudo’s wife, as a customary gift to a mother, who has just given birth. It should be mentioned that Claudio Ragazzi, on guitar, and Jess Jurkovic, on piano, have lovely spotlighted passages on tracks #7 and #8, not listed below, for reasons of space. This is a fantastic album to keep on your stereo and listening media.
All compositions and arrangements by Pedro Giraudo.
#1 – Muñeca (Doll) – Ryan Keberle, on trombone solo, is spotlighted throughout this eight minute track, amidst stylized percussion, fusing with brass, piano, and bass. Although the eighteen-man big band is a tightly tuned ensemble, it finds unique openings for a solo, duet, or trio to shine, before the band energizes into combined momentum. This composition could be a score for an adventure film, with its drama and pulse. As the opening track, it’s filled with flashy brass and melodious harmonies, a tribute to Giraudo’s versatility.
#5 – Angela Suite (Coda) – The full ensemble is highlighted on this final, fourth track of the Angela Suite. This emotional, animated finish is ebullient and bouncy, fitting as it’s in celebration of a new baby girl. Horns are in flourish mode, with regal splendor, and the percussive pulse goes wild. The trumpets and saxes are especially vibrant and joyous.
#6 – La Ley Primera (First Law) – Alejandro Aviles, on alto sax, exudes a mellow, melodic aura. He finds ultra-quiet moments in his full-track solo, with background brass adding blended support, that occasionally implodes. Giraudo notes that this piece is inspired by a long poem of Argentine cowboy life. It certainly has a casual, meandering, confident motif. Instead of flash, this track ends in a bluesy blend.
#9 – Nube (Cloud) – Carl Maraghi, on baritone sax, carries a deeply yearning solo across the album’s closing track, with full ensemble harmonies. Giraudo notes that on this track he forms the rhythm of a “zamba”, an Argentinean dance, in slow rhythm with three-quarter time, danced with a handkerchief. As in track #6, noted above, the finale is relaxing and nurturing, a closure to this exemplary listening experience.