Sliding over the borders of style

Issue 


Sliding over the borders of style


Jazz Latino-Americano

Tigramuna

Available from Tigramuna

e-mail <tigramuna@hinet.net.au>—Ph (02) 4868 2020 or fax (02)
4868 2053

 

Review by Barry Healy

Take a musician out of Chile (fleeing political oppression), couple
him with an Australian, locate them in NSW's Southern Highlands and what
results?: this sophisticated blend of Latin-American rhythms and jazz,
which happily slides all over the borders of tradition and style.

 

Tigramuna is the vehicle for Carlos Villanueva, Wendy Upjohn and friends
to explore the edges of tradition and innovation. Villanueva is passionate
about Latin-American music; in conversation, he can reel off loving descriptions
of the minutest details of each national rhythmic variation.

This independent recording is a product of five years' work with Tigramuna
(the word means “to return” in the Andean Quechua language). It amalgamates
well-known styles such as the bossa nova and various Cuban and Afro-Peruvian
styles with jazz improvisation.

The opening track, Desde La Frontera (“From the Border”), establishes
the feel. An impossibly deep Andean pipe quietly leads into a swinging
Afro-Latin workout, with improvisations winding their way all over the
place. Yet the balance of the interplay never descends into chaos. This
is innovative, but not avant-avant-garde.

Other tracks use Brazilian carnival beats, Cuban songo style, Bolivian
takirari rhythm and many more. There is tight discipline in the unison
playing and wonderful freedom in the improvisation. The six musicians use
more than 20 wind, string and percussion instruments from traditional panpipes
and bamboo flutes through to modern jazz instruments.

This is a remarkably professional creation from a band with no major
company behind them.