How do you dive head first into a new style of music without loosing your own developed sense of artistic identity? It’s an interesting question that every artist faces at one time or another during the course of their career. Diving into new musical territory is an important part of any musician’s artistic evolution; while some folks might repeat the elements of past successes, the only way to grow as an artist is to try new things. It’s important to capture a sense of authenticity in your learning process though, which can require some compromises along the way. In a best case scenario, you can surround yourself with masters of the new style, giving yourself some role models to guide your work. Involving experienced musicians means at you’re hopefully going to be following their lead; if you simply force yourself over the background that they create, your product is going to be fairly superficial. At the same time, you run the risk of loosing your most valuable asset in this regard though, which is your sense of identity as a musician. Finding that balance between authenticity and personality requires a musician to walk a fine line, and it’s easy to stumble. When you do manage to maintain a sense of self while immersing yourself in a new experience, the results can be beautiful. Flautist Mark Weinstein dives into the Argentinean Tango tradition on Todo Corazón, delivering an inspiring performance full of authentic musical details and his well known artistic identity.
Working Deeply Within A Traditional Instrumentation
Weinstein digs deeply into tango with a traditional instrumentation, working with creative arrangements from bassist Pablo Aslan and bringing his flute into the ensemble and acting as a soloist. Weinstein’s flute glides effortlessly over a distinctly uplifting set of chords on Vicente Greco’s “La Viruta” before melding into a rhythmic melody alongside bandoneón player Raul Jaurena. The melodic duties bounce between Weinstein and Jaurena in a tightly constructed arrangement before Jaurena moves into the background, helping Aslan and pianist Abel Rogantini drive the rhythmic momentum. Weinstein charges into an impassioned improvisation, hitting edges of the style with smart lines before he drives the band back through the melodic material in high gear. Weinstein delicately winds his flute around Rogantini’s rich chordal accompaniment on Astor Piazzolla’s “Onda Nueve” until the pianist starts some powerful rhythmic motion, pushing Weinstein into a flurry of notes. Aslan and Jaurena leap into the mix, creating a driving momentum as Weinstein and Rogantini share pieces of the melody, which comes to an abrupt stop as it reaches an exciting pace. Rogantini fills the space with an introspective bit of solo piano, followed by a gentle melodic interpretation from Weinstein that builds into a full band climax. Rogantini and Aslan push the rhythm with a steady stride as Jaurena and guitarist Francisco Navarro introduce Julio De Caro and José María Ruffet’s “Todo Corazón” with a short melodic duet, until Weinstein enters with the melody and the full rhythm section kicks into a driving momentum. The band quiets as Aslan winds beautifully poignant melodies through the chords with a gorgeous tone, followed by a stately solo from Rogantini that bubbles with a playful edge. Weinstein creates a more lengthy statement, taking his time to play upon the melody, developing it with an edgy motion and a running collection of note flurries. Weinstein weaves his way around precise rhythmic attacks from the band on Juan Maglio and Enrique Cadícamo’s “El Llorón,” winding his melody around a driving band texture with a lively sense of motion. Navarro plays off this momentum with a solo that hits every rhythmic turn with a percussive attack, followed by a statement from Weinstein that matches the band’s fire and intensity. Jaurena sends the band to the next level with a virtuosic statement before trading phrases with Weinstein to take the song to a rousing close. There’s a defined feeling on these tracks that Weinstein is performing as part of the ensemble, and while he takes some memorable solos, he works alongside the other musicians to respect the song and style.
Combining Flute And Bandoneón
An individual tune really defines the combination of Weinstein’s world with the tango tradition when the flautist moves into a trio setting with Jaurena’s bandoneón. The pure tone and slow vibrato of Weinstein’s flute sits boldly above Jaurena’s bandoneón, simultaneously unified and contrasting, as he plays through the melody of Juan Carlos Cobain’s “Mi Refugio.” Jaurena revisits the melody with a distinctly introspective and moody approach, embellishing his statement with spells of harmonic dissonance and assertive runs. Aslan assertively enters the group with a big round tone, providing a momentum that lets Weinstein fly through an improvised section before looking at the original theme from a different perspective. There’s a interesting overlay as Weinstein works as the featured soloist over Jaurena’s bandoneon, highlighting a merging of tones, styles, and backgrounds that produces beautiful results.
A More Intimate Guitar Trio Setting
Weinstein’s gorgeous tone and personal style comes into the forefront with a number of tracks featuring a more intimate guitar trio setting. Aslan presents a gorgeous melody that showcases his deep rich tone on the introduction to Juan Carlos Cobain & Enrique Cadícamo’s “Los Mareados” before Weinstein reflectively works through the main theme over the sparse backdrop of Navarro’s guitar. A short burst of refined riffs from Navarro sends Weinstein into a well constructed solo that cleverly plays around the chords with subtle traces of jazz influence. Weinstein freely interprets the melody with quick flurries of notes, giving Aslan equal opportunities to make his mark on the memorable melody with both pizzicato and bowed phrases. Navarro accents the sharp rhythmic feel of Weinstein’s melody with percussive attacks and arpeggiated fills on Mariano Mores and José María Contursi’s “Cristal,” effortlessly shifting between bold rhythmic playing and sensitive melodic passages. As the two musicians come to the end of their duet, Aslan enters with an unaccompanied bowed bass solo that wraps both improvisation and melodic playing into a mesmerizing statement. After a brief melodic interlude from Weinstein, Navarro improvises with grace and style over Aslan’s bass, charging forward with both sophistication and fire into Weinstein’s final journey through the beautiful melody. There’s a gentle sense of calm as Weinstein sensitively performs the melody to Juan Carlos Cobain and Enrique Cadícamo’s “Nostalgias” over sparse chordal arpeggios from Navarro. Aslan enters the ensemble as the melody progresses, and the interaction between his bass and Navarro’s guitar creates a slowly building rhythmic momentum behind the melody. All three musicians improvise upon song, adding their own personal voices – Navarro full of graceful virtuosity, Weinstein with an understated fire, and Aslan lending a heavy lyricism. Aslan fills with a lyrical grace over Navarro’s stream of understated arpeggios on Mariano Mores and José María Contursi’s “Grisel” leading into a gentle melody brought to life with the deep, rich sound of Weinstein’s bass flute. Navarro inserts a rhythmic push into the song with an improvisation that pushes the time forward and plays off sharp edged attacks. Weinstein solos with a subdued elegance, letting the tone of his instrument steal the spotlight, eventually returning to the melody in the bass flute’s resonant upper register. There’s a fantastic interplay on these tracks that lets all three musicians evolve their individual ideas into a beautiful musical conversation about style, finesse, and individualism.
A Perfect Balance Between The Elegance Of Tango And Weinstein’s Improvisational Prowess
Weinstein makes a smart and inspiring entry into tango on Todo Corazón, producing a collection of music that shows a deep respect for the tango tradition while letting his own artistic voice shine. Weinstein is not a newcomer at trying different things, having thrown himself into projects revolving around folkloric Cuban music, Brazilian styles, Jewish music, modern Cuban dance music, and more. He understands how to navigate the divide between new experiences and personal identity and he does so with grace and style on Todo Corazón. At every step of the way, Weinstein’s artistic decisions show a deep respect for the process of integrating his voice into a decidedly different part of the Latin Jazz world. The tone of Weinstein’s flute blends into the tango ensemble in a natural way, showing a defined connection to the music; at the same time, there’s an undeniable sense that Weinstein’s flute breaks the confines of style to bring his personality to the forefront. Weinstein adds a bit of New York into the mix, smartly walking alongside experienced tango musicians who display the history and elegance of the music. Weinstein is right there with his band, but he’s also adding in bits of jazz and the subtle rhythmic hints of his time with Cuban musicians. Involving bassist Pablo Aslan in this project was a stroke of genius on Weinstein’s part, ensuring at the music would stay firmly rooted in the tango tradition. Aslan’s previous work has shown an innate connection to the history and musical details of tango, as well as a deep understanding of jazz; he clearly brings all of those traits into the project. With Aslan’s frequent collaborators on board in Jaurena, Rogantini, and Navarro, the project has a distinct sound that feels both polished and relaxed while echoing the sounds of tradition. Navarro shines brightly throughout the trio tracks, pushing the music with a rhythmic vitality, melodic sensitivity, and improvisational flair. Weinstein makes impressive headway into the tango tradition on Todo Corazón, playing upon his experienced musical identity and a strong supporting cast to create a memorable recording that finds the perfect balance between the refined elegance of tango and the improvisational prowess of Weinstein’s flute work.
1. La Viruta (Vicente Greco)
2. Los Mareados (Juan Carlos Cobain & Enrique Cadícamo)
3. Mi Refugio (Juan Carlos Cobain)
4. Onda Nueve (Astor Piazzolla)
5. Cristal (Mariano Mores & José María Contursi)
6. Nostalgias (Juan Carlos Cobain & Enrique Cadícamo)
7. Todo Corazón (Julio De Caro & José María Ruffet)
8. Grisel (Mariano Mores & José María Contursi)
9. El Llorón (Juan Maglio & Enrique Cadícamo)
Mark Weinstein – concert, alto, and bass flutes; Abel Rogantini – piano; Raul Jaurena – bandoneón; Francisco Navarro – guitar; Pablo Aslan – bass
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