Sat 27 Oct 2018
8:00pm | €35/€32 + €1 booking fee
Sat 27 Oct 2018
8:00pm | €35/€32 + €1 booking fee

Kristjan Randalu “Absence” / Dino Saluzzi Group

Kristjan Randalu “Absence”

Kristjan Randalu: piano; Ben Monder: guitar; Markku Ounaskari: drums

Born into a musical family in Estonia in 1978, Kristjan Randalu grew up in Germany. Both his parents are professional classical pianists, and all of his early music training was purely classical. Hearing Chick Corea’s Inside Out at the age of 13 changed some of his priorities: “It seemed to me so perfect that I thought at first that it must be all notated. And it had all this rhythmic energy, and sound-wise, harmonically and colour-wise was very interesting to me. At that point I had almost no historical jazz references at all – no early Miles, even, no Coltrane – I would learn about all of that later. But I felt motivated to create my own music with piano and synthesizer and sequencer and soon had my first band. By this point I had already been performing classical music for years and was playing at a serious level, but there was a gap between practicing my Liszt and Chopin and beginning to deal actively with jazz…” The gap was bridged in the following years by studies with a number of notable pianists, including John Taylor and Django Bates. A scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music allowed plenty of opportunities to hear New York’s improvisers at first hand, Ben Monder amongst them.

A musician in the New York City area for over 30 years, Ben Monder has performed with a wide variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, Billy Childs, Andrew Cyrille, George Garzone, Paul Motian, Maria Schneider, and Marshall Crenshaw. He also contributed guitar parts to the final David Bowie album, Blackstar. In addition to his own ECM album Amorphae, with Paul Motian, Andrew Cyrille and Pete Rende, Monder appears on Theo Bleckmann’s Elegy and Paul Motian’s Garden of Eden.

Markku Ounaskari has played with all the major Finnish jazz players and with many international jazz musicians including Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Tomasz Stanko and Marc Ducret. In addition to his Kuára recording with Samuli Mikkonen and Per Jørgensen, exploring Russian psalms and Fenno-Ugrian folk songs in an improvisational context, Markku Ounaskari appears on several ECM recordings with folk singer and kantele player Sinikka Langeland, including Starflowers, The Land That Is Not, The Half-Finished Heaven and The Magical Forest.

Dino Saluzzi Group

Dino Saluzzi: bandoneon; Felix ‘Cuchara’ Saluzzi: tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet; José Maria Saluzzi: acoustic and electric guitars; Matias Saluzzi: double-bass, bass guitar; U.T. Gandhi: drums, percussion

The Dino Saluzzi Group, which has also toured as the Saluzzi Family Project, has been a much loved group on the international touring circuit for a long time. Dino is heard with his brother, saxophonist Felix Saluzzi, his son José Maria Saluzzi on guitar, Felix’s son Matias Saluzzi on bass, and a new friend and honorary family member, Italian drummer U.T. Gandhi.

Born in North of Argentina in 1935, Dino has been leading bands since he was 14 years old. He began to play professionally while studying in Buenos Aires. It was in Buenos Aires, too, that he met and befriended Astor Piazzolla as the term “tango nuevo” began to gain currency. Though Piazzolla and Saluzzi always respected each other’s work, Dino has never cared to put a label on his own work. But he has stressed, in numerous interviews that his is not an “art music” but a music that comes out of life and attempts to express the emotions, thoughts and memories that accompany it. And this has remained as true of the work that stresses primarily his compositional endeavours – such as the ongoing “Kultrum” collaboration with the Rosamunde Quartett – as it is of work in which improvisation has a larger role to play, as on “Senderos.”

From his first ECM album, recorded in 1982, Saluzzi’s music has been very warmly received by the world’s press. Fanfare magazine was quick to conclude that “Dino Saluzzi is probably the greatest living master of the bandoneon”. Down Beat said, “Reworking elements of tango, South American Indian music, backwater folk tunes and other root sounds, Saluzzi’s breadth of feeling makes for remarkable listening.” The Los Angeles Times, in a best-of-the year survey in 2004, wrote that “Saluzzi is a writer of abstract music but a tanguero at heart; his compositions bring forth the unique sadness of tango. Nobody has stretched the genre’s boundaries to such a degree while retaining a remarkable clarity of purpose.”

Dino gives a lot of credit to the bandoneon itself, which so often seems like an extension of his personality, reflecting nuances of mood and emotion. “This instrument means my whole life,” he says. “We are together, the instrument and me. Without it by my side I feel uncomfortable, incomplete. Nothing could every take its place.”

José Maria Saluzzi first played percussion and drums – he was the drummer at 16, on Mojotoro – before turning his attention to piano, electric bass and then guitar. He studied with Walter Malosetti and Anibal Arias and later had some lessons from Ralph Towner. He’s been heard on 1996’s Cité de la Musique and 2001’s Responsorium as acoustic guitarist; Juan Condori is the first of the ECM Saluzzi releases to include also his more jazz-aligned electric playing. The new disc also includes Jose’s composition “Soles”, which segues into his father’s tribute to his home town, “La Camposanteña”.

Felix Saluzzi’s contributions on saxes, especially the full-throated tenor, have a rough-hewn quality that jazz observers may consider characteristically ‘Argentinean’.

Udine-based drummer U.T. Gandhi, born Umberto Trombetta, was brought to the group by producer Manfred Eicher, and has already toured widely with the Saluzzis. (So compatible has the combination proven that Dino is now playing in Gandhi’s new group as well). In Italy the drummer is best known for his membership of Enrico Rava’s Electric Five band. He has also played with Richard Galliano, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Gianluigi Trovesi, Tony Scott, Jack Walrath, Louis Sclavis, Stefano Bollani, and many others.

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