“Globo” features the vocals of Klein and saxophonist Miguel Zenón, accompanied by Klein’s lush horn arrangement. The melody is a two-note fragment that grows through barbed dissonances.
“Niños,” written by percussionist Richard Nant, is a polyrhythmic play on a children’s song. The simplicity of the melody is obliterated by ensemble lines that are playful to the point of being frenetic. The ensemble’s size allows it to simultaneously sound orchestral while executing the light, lopsided nature of the piece. The section that best illustrates this ability is the moments leading up to Diego Urcola’s trumpet solo.
Although not every piece is based on or meant to evoke a children’s song, one characteristic aspect of Klein’s music is his ability to weave a few simple ideas into an intricate canvas. “Mariana” contains a handful of melodic pieces, but thanks to Klein’s orchestrational and rhythmic prowess, it blossoms and unfolds as though it has no constraints.
Rhythmic subtlety is one thing that separates Klein from his influences as well as his contemporaries. Like Gil Evans and Maurice Ravel, he can make the group sound bigger than it is with dissonant chords spread throughout the various wind instruments. In addition, his command of polyrhythms and Latin rhythms allow his music to achieve a litheness that isn’t common in larger ensembles, such as those lead by Darcy James Argue and John Hollenbeck.
Klein, however, has an advantage, in that his isn’t really a “large ensemble,” which usually contain around 16 musicians. The question Klein’s music raises is, why have a 16-piece large ensemble when you can sound both lush and lithe with an 11-piece group? Of course, not every bandleader has musicians like Miguel Zenón, Ben Monder, Jeff Ballard, Chris Cheek, Taylor Haskins, Diego Urcola, Sandro Tomasi, Fernando Huergo, and Bill McHenry at his disposal.
May 8th, 2012 on Sunnyside Records
- Richard Nant – trumpet, percussion
- Miguel Zenon - alto saxophone, flute, vocals
- Ben Monder - guitar
- Sandro Tomasi - trombone
- Taylor Haskins - trumpet
- Chris Cheek - tenor, baritone saxophone
- Jeff Ballard - drums
- Fernando Huergo - bass
- Guillermo Klein - piano, rhodes, vocals
- Bill McHenry - tenor saxophone
- Diego Urcola - trumpet, trombone
- Burrito Hill
- The Habit of Memory
- Piano Sonata op. 22 (1st mov.)