Thursday, May 10, 2012

Invierno Porteño - Ro Gebhardt Trio

Jazz guitarist, Roland Gebhardt, is the star of the trio bearing his name but Pedro Giraudo, making back-to-back appearances in this blog, is the star in today's video of Invierno Porteño.  Ro Gebhardt is one of the best known jazz guitarists in Europe.  He has his own recognizable style which blends the mellowness of Wes Montgomery, the agility of Django, and the musical sensibility of Charlie Byrd.  Like Montgomery, he plays a Gibson L-5 CES archtop, a jazz favorite whose design dates back to 1922. Ro plays with many musicians but in this trio is joined by Bernd Oezsevim on drums and by Giraudo on bass. Giraudo is a currently a resident of New York City but is originally from Argentina. In addition to being a bassist, he is a composer and has his own Latin jazz orchestra with a new award winning recording, Córdoba. He frequently plays with Pablo Ziegler (see this blog) and is no stranger to the music of Piazzolla. Today's video provides an excellent opportunity to see Giraudo's talents up close.

You might assume that Giraudo brought Piazzolla to Gebhardt but I think that is not the case.  In 2005, Gebhardt included Invierno Porteño  in an album titled, Solo – improvisations and variations on music from different centuries.  That album is difficult to find but you can hear the entire recording of Invierno Porteño  here.  While the playing is excellent and creative, the arrangement is a bit scattered and lacks consistency.  In 2008, Gebhardt created a quite different and much better arrangement.  The 2005 version covered the entire work - even the Vivaldi-like bits at the end, but the 2008 version was more of a jazz meditation on the principal theme of the work. That version can be found on his 2008 CD, European Jam, with Davide Petrocca on bass.  It is essentially that same arrangement that is found on today's video with Giraudo on bass.

The performance showcases Giraudo's absolute perfection of pitch and his rhythmic sensitivity to the tango roots of the work which are often lost in the hands of others. In most of the video, Giraudo plucks the melody and Gebhardt improvises beautifully around it while drummer, Bernd Oezsevim, provides very discreet and tasteful brush work in the background. This is not finger-snapping jazz.  It is jazz to be enjoyed by the fire with good friends and a glass of wine.

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