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Fernando Huergo: Jazz Argentino

In his liner notes to this fine jazz-meets-Argentine set, bassist Fernando Huergo confesses that the title Jazz Argentino (Fresh Sound/World Jazz) might have a “pretentious” ring. But he couldn’t avoid its worth as truth in advertising. To realize his song set, the limber electric bassist rallied a good group of players: saxophonist Chris Cheek, pianist Bruce Barth, drummer Jeff Ballard and Franco Pinna on bombo and cajon.

Argentine music has had an impact on jazz and beyond through the music of Astor Piazzolla, Gato Barbieri and Lalo Schifrin. Huergo offers his own take, drawing on indigenous elements of Argentine folkloric music and, of course, tango, whose pulse sneaks in and out of the tunes, most assertive in a tune like “Ad n Buensayres.” Huergo’s songs pay tribute to the card game “Truco,” to revolutionary hero “Che” and the sad realities of displacement in “Exilio.” His originals split the difference between sounds from his homeland and the language of jazz-much of it feels closer to the site of its recording, in New Jersey, than Buenos Aires. Yet the album’s closing tune, the sweetly rueful traditional “Volvere Siempre a San Juan,” puts us in mind of another successful recent jazz-Latin project: Charlie Haden and Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s Nocturne.

Originally Published