Sunday, May 6, 2012

Piazzolla! - Orchestre National de Jazz

It would be folly to announce the 2012 Piazzolla Recording of the Year before it is even released, but I am tempted.  That tempting recording will be titled Piazzolla! and it has already been recorded by Daniel Yvinec's Orchestre National de Jazz, better known to jazz fans as ONJ. Release is scheduled for the fall of 2012, but a few lucky people at the Pannonica in Nantes, France got a preview at ONJ's January 19 premiere performance of Piazzolla!. Fortunately for us, film maker Juan Sebastian Torales has made a teaser video of the program which is our featured video for today.

ONJ is a totally unique group. It was founded in 1986 by the French Ministry of Culture. Daniel Yvinec is the tenth leader of ONJ and his approach has been a bit different.  The previous nine were band leaders, Yvinec has been positioned as an artistic director and thus has the freedom to work with other leading figures in the creation of the music.  The band itself is also a bit different. Many of the earlier ONJ groups were staffed with the leader's own musicians supplemented with All-Stars chosen from the French jazz scene. Yvinec has chosen ten very young musicians, all very talented but essentially unknown to him and to most jazz fans.  Working with this essentially blank canvas, Yvinec created "projects" for them to work on as varied as the music from Carmen to the music of rock singer, Robert Wyatt. To appreciate the variety and quality of the results, I urge you to watch the Torales' videos of four of ONJ's recent projects at this webpage.  Not only will you find some interesting music, you will also view some excellent videography.

My enthusiasm for the project, however, is unrelated to any enthusiasm for ONJ - it is a direct result of the involvement of Gil Goldstein in the project.  Goldstein is perhaps the premiere jazz arranger of our era. Known by many for his work with the legendary Gil Evans (a friend and fan of Piazzolla), his work goes far beyond that and includes film scores and work with such luminaries as Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. He is also a performer (on both piano and accordion), a composer and author of the interesting book, The Jazz Composer's Companion.  Goldstein did not know Piazzolla's music when he came to the project so has a very fresh take on the music and from the samples in today's video, it is apparent that we are going to hear something different and exciting from the upcoming recording. One of Goldstein's closing comments in the video could be the mantra for many of the regular readers of this blog, "We are all trying to find Piazzolla."

You will hear bits of Libertango, Tres Minutos con la realidad, Balada para un loco, Oblivion and Chiquilin de Bachin in the video. They come from Torales video of rehearsals, the concert at the Pannonica and a recording session at Studios Ferber.  Join me in waiting and watching for the album to appear on iTunes.  Meanwhile, enjoy today's video.

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