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Guillermo Klein: Una Nave

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Guillermo Klein (right) with bassist Fernando Huergo

Pianist/guitarist/composer Guillermo Klein’s Una Nave takes obvious inspiration from the music of Klein’s native Argentina but treats it freely and with a keen ear for catchy melodies, malleable yet infectious rhythms and dramatic musical progressions that make many of the pieces feel like stories.

“Flores” moves from gentle Fender Rhodes and guitar to quiet vocals before adding a hearty trumpet-and-sax chart, but the meditative music continues pulsing underneath and eventually emerges once again to great effect, while the nine-minute epic “El Rio 02′” begins with a majestic brass statement that gradually thins down to a percussion workout before returning triumphantly to the head. Shorter pieces, like the diabolical groove on “Niza (Milonga)” and the spare lament “Luci,” feel like quick, sharp character sketches.

It helps that Klein draws some blazing playing from his ensemble. On “Venga,” percussionists Daniel Piazzolla and Richard Nant and pianist Klein grab the spotlight after a beautifully twisting trumpet solo and make an angular rhapsody from the rhythms underneath before the trumpets and saxes enter to tear things up in similar fashion. All the musicians on Una Nave, in fact, contribute to Klein’s successful realization of a music that could only come from his native land but sounds at home anywhere in the world.