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Pablo Aslan's Contrabajo suggests a glance back and a glimpse ahead / BASSMUSICIAN

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Contrabajo. Works For Bass And String Quartet, the new recording by Argentine-born bassist, composer, arranger, and producer Pablo Aslan, is a bold self-portrait of the artist with his instrument.

Recorded in Buenos Aires and New York, Contrabajo features the exceptional Cuarteto Petrus  - Pablo Saraví, violín; Hernán Briático, violín; Adrián Felizia, viola; and Gloria Pankaeva, violoncello -  as well as guests Cuban saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, and Uruguyan bandoneón master Raúl Jaurena. In its wide stylistic and emotional range, Contrabajo suggests a glance back at Aslan´s career but also a glimpse of the opportunities ahead.

The repertory includes new arrangements of works such as Heitor Villa-Lobos' "Prelude No1," Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday," and the tango classic "La Cumparsita;" original compositions especially written for this recording such as Gabriel Senanes' mini-concerto "Riendo Suelto," Roger Davidson's "Tango Para Cuerdas," and Alexis Cuadrado's "Reflejos,"  and a new version of Aslan's "Tanguajira," first recorded on Tango Jazz. Live at Jazz at Lincoln Center, featuring D'Rivera on clarinet.

"I have a very eclectic taste in music. I've played jazz, Latin jazz, and works from the symphonic repertoire, but also chamber music, free improvisation, Broadway shows, and Top 40 songs. Even within tango I have a broad range," says Aslan, whose credits include notable but also diverse figures such as Yo Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Shakira, Lalo Schifrin, Osvaldo Golijov, and Pablo Ziegler. "I've played tango for dancers and accompanied singers, but also played Nuevo Tango and, of course, tango jazz. That's the story I‘ve wanted to reflect in this recording, and while doing that, I've also wanted to show the potential of my instrument, not just to provide the foundation in a piece, but to sing a melody or drive the rhythm."

The double bass is physically demanding (the very title of this recording, Contrabajo, is a pun in Spanish that alludes to it: con trabajo, with work), and has a comparatively small repertoire, so rather than make this recording into a showcase for well-practiced musical routines or an exercise in nostalgia, Aslan turned it into a challenge and an opportunity.