On first glance apprehension. Admittedly ashamed I was prejudiced. For on the surface was an Argentine group, playing 'jazz', with an accordion no less! What could they possibly do with the music in this format setting? I would ask myself.
Suffice it to say, I found pianist/composer Adrian Iaies a world class virtuoso. World class with a capitol C. His compatriots Pablo Aslan, bass; Pepi Taveira, drums and Michael Zisman, a master of the bandoneon are unequalled as well. The group is augmented by the sanguine trumpet stylings of Juan Cruz De Urquiza.
Jazz Speak has become a universal language. And like the home grown variety State side, jazz round the world uses universal elements to furthers its methods. Be it a mandolin in Spain, a sitar in India, dumbeks in Northern Africa, or a taragoto of eastern Europe. Nothing, no instrumentation, save for probably piano, bass and drums is sacrosanct in jazz.
Decades ago when Astor Piazzolla introduced the bandoneon to wider audiences outside of Argentina we were aghast. His fluid mastery astounded audiences. The bandoneon's sound is less harsh than that of its big brother the accordion. It possesses a 'sweeter' sound.
Argentine native Adrian Iaies is no stranger to international audiences. Widely recognized for his deft touch and consummate command of the jazz idiom, only now American audiences are witness to this pure talent. His new Vals De La 81st & Columbus, brings a lucidly responsive quartet session of warm and wondrous music.