Dedication to a particular genre of South American or Caribbean music involves a lifetime of performance, study, and undying dedication. At this point in history, there’s a long stream of evolution that involves subtle, and sometimes drastic, changes in performance practices. Traditional artists create music today that sounds very different than the same style from fifty years earlier. These modern approaches build upon the lessons of the past though, and proper execution of contemporary ideas require a thorough understanding of earlier forms. For the artist that learned music outside the culture, diving into a new style presents an overwhelming task that involves a simultaneous study of both the old and new. Sorting out the difference between the music of the past and the present requires a broad spectrum of listening and some focused historical investigations. Musicians that spend their developmental years inside the culture sometimes live strongly attached to the genre, but for others, the style may simply exist in the background of their daily routines. Still, the music remains familiar, artist names are easily referenced as part of their cultural landscape, and they generally have greater access to the tradition. Regardless of a musician’s background, they have a long road ahead of them – the mastery of any South American or Caribbean genre demands a long study; when a musician prefers experimental forays into jazz, the path becomes even longer and demands a much more solid foundation.
Bassist Pablo Aslan has shown a particularly passionate dedication to tango over the course of his career, indulging the music’s traditional side as well as pursuing innovation. While tango sat squarely at the middle of cultural heritage in Argentina, it did not exist as the music of Aslan’s generation. The deeper Aslan dived into music in Argentina, the further he moved away from traditional tango. Once Aslan moved to the States for collegiate studies in music, he worked his way through orchestral music, jazz, and finally back to tango. When the genre grabbed his attention, it caught him full force, inspiring him to delve back into the music’s history. He became a first call bassist for tango on the West Coast, working throughout the small but lively scene in Los Angeles. Inspired by the potential musical horizons in New York, Aslan packed his bass and headed to the East Coast, quickly finding a place on the city’s scene. The bassist built a relationship with bandoneon player Raul Juarena and the two musicians combined their experience to create The New York Buenos Aires Connection. A need to perform for a more traditional dance crowd led to the creation of a second ensemble, The New York Tango Trio, a group that drew upon classic repertoire. While Aslan grew into an essential piece of the New York tango scene, he never lost his interest in jazz; he combined the two passions in another group, the tango-jazz ensemble Avantango. After recording two albums with different versions of Avantango, Aslan explored the connection between jazz and tango with a group of Buenos Aires musicians well versed in both styles. Aslan’s work built momentum for tango on both the East and West coasts, and has ventured into uncharted waters, mixing jazz with tradition.
Aslan has repeatedly brought tango to our attention and shown the Latin Jazz world the inherent possibilities in tango-jazz mixtures, a sign of his passionate dedication to the style. In honor of Aslan’s devotion, today’s Weekly Latin Jazz Video Fix will feature some of his fantastic work. The first clip places Aslan among the musicians that contributed to his second album, Buenos Aires Tango Standards, performing live in Buenos Aires. In an interesting combination of two worlds, the second video shows two dancers performing while Aslan improvises a tango bass line. The third excerpt pairs Aslan with longtime partner Raul Juarena for a duo performance, while the last segment captures Aslan in a rehearsal with a traditional Buenos Aires tango group. It’s an inspiring mixture of music – enjoy!
Pablo Aslan Quartet Live At The Buenos Aires International Tango Festival In August 2009
Pablo Aslan Improvising A Tango Bass Solo For Dancers
Pablo Aslan In A Duo Performance With Bandoneon Player Raul Jaurena
Pablo Aslan Rehearsing With Orquesta Tipica de Julian Peralta In Buenos Aires
SPECIAL OFFER FOR NEW YORK LJC READERS!
Pablo Aslan will be celebrating the release of his new CD, Tango Grill, in March with a series of concerts at Rose Theater in Lincoln Center. The concert will reunite Aslan with several key musicians from Buenos Aires, including Daniel Piazzolla, and include an appearance from special guest, Latin Jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera. It should be a serious tango-jazz concert that you don’t want to miss. LJC readers will receive a 25% discount on tickets to the concert – get them while you can. Purchase your tickets HERE and enter the promo code Tango for your discount.
Want to hear more from Pablo Aslan? Check out these albums:
Do you have a video to contribute to satisfy our weekly Latin Jazz video fix? If so, send it in – it’s time to feed our addiction. I’m looking for live performances, from any context. I’ll most likely be posting one video per week, but if you’ve got another idea, let’s talk. So come on Latin Jazz videographers, musicians, and fans – let’s share some of our memorable videos! Get my contact info HERE.
Check Out These Related Posts:
Album Of The Week: Buenos Aires Tango Standards, Pablo Aslan
Album Of The Week: Avantango, Pablo Aslan
Weekly Latin Jazz Video Fix: AStor Piazzolla
Exploring The Low End: 5 Latin Jazz Bassists On Video