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  • Jonathan Widran

PABLO ASLAN, Contrabajo

One of the leading figures in traditional and contemporary tango, renowned Argentine born bassist Pablo Aslan – a Grammy and Latin Grammy award nominee - has been critically touted as the “heartbeat” of an emerging jazz-tango fusion style.

The multi-talented composer and artist explains that this all at once dramatic and sweeping, jubilant yet sensually intimate collection of bass/string quartet arrangements was prompted by the suggestion of bandeonist, arranger and composer Raul Jaurena - who adds his quirky, percussive accents and dreamy improvisations to the closing track “La Cumparsita.”

Yet Aslan’s colorful liner notes about the project’s road to fruition and each individual track help us understand that this is an extraordinarily personal work, with every piece and arrangement chosen for a specific mood and purpose. It’s fascinating to absorb both the overriding emotion and intricate details of each piece, as Aslan explores the artful energies of culture changing figures and close composer friends alike.

Among the famous composers he artfully interprets are Brazilian legend Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose hypnotic “Preludio No. 1” kicks off the setand; Duke Ellington, whose “Come Sunday” is given lush, sacred reverence; and French American composer Roger Davidson, represented here by the haunting “Te Extrano Buenos Aires” and the lyrical romantic (though dark toned in spots) “Tango para Cuerdas.”

On the more personal side, Aslan taps the catalog of one of his closest friends and neighbors Alexis Cuadrado for a spritely jaunt through “Confluencias” and a moody, ebb and flow meditation titled “Reflejos.”

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