• Guillermo Klein Live From Berklee 1/29: Watch Now

    February 3, 2014. Posted by Chris Dennison.

    Argentine composer Guillermo Klein’s stateside visits have been rare treats since 2000, when he left New York for his homeland and beyond. Klein is back – enjoy this video of Klein's performance, from our live audio and video broadcast of the event on January 29.

    Klein peformed music he wrote to perform for this homecoming with members of his signature large ensemble, Los Guachos, which includes fellow Berklee alums trumpeter Richard Nant and bassist Fernando Huergo, as well as saxophonist Bill McHenry and drummer Jeff Ballard. They were joined by current Berklee students, whom Klein coached over Skype, to form a 14-piece group.

    Klein combines elements of Argentinean folk traditions with contemporary jazz and an attitude that embraces freedom. He draws from a sonic palette which may surprise the jazz ear: these include effects-laden guitars, unexpected combinations of human voices, and even whistling, as on his piece “Fiu” from his 2005 album Una Nave.

    Klein’s ability to compose fluid pieces with changing time signatures is particularly striking: he utilizes unpredictable rhythmic elements and odd meters, which he traces in part to his childhood in Argentina, where the hemiola, or “3 against 2” pattern, is a common element.

    This tension in time can be heard on “El Rio” from Una Nave, and also on “Miula,” from the 2008 album Filtros. Even when a piece has a straightforward organization of beats, Klein’s interlocking polyrhythmic phrases create emotive tensions and releases. However, his pieces generally maintain consistent grooves, making them sound natural and highly accessible despite their rhythmic complexity.

    While the rhythmic elegance of Klein’s music is remarkable,  his range in melody and harmony are equally impressive: he composes energetic, jagged, angular piano lines, as on “Argentina” from Una Nave, as well as passages of rich, subtle beauty, as in the restrained melody of “Yesu” and the  harmony of “Louange à l'éternité de Jésus,” both from Filtros.

    With so few performances stateside in recent years, Guillermo’s Berklee homecoming this Wednesday is not to be missed. Enjoy, and join us for our live broadcasts of the best new jazz from Berklee's Café 939 in Boston every month!

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