Oscar e Familia
“The sound of Oscar and all the musicians who played on this CD is beautiful.”
Hermeto Pascoal, From the CD liner notes
Sunnyside Records is home to some of Argentina’s most cutting-edge jazz musicians; Guillermo Klein, Adrian Iaies, Fernando Huergo and Carlos Franzetti represent the zenith of that country’s contributions to the jazz continuum, Now, you can add the brilliant saxophonist Oscar Feldman to that illustrious list with his Sunnyside debut, Oscar e Familia: a splendid, ten-track recording featuring an impressive Pan-American cast consisting of Puerto Rican bassist John Benitez, Cuban pianist Manuel Valera, Curacao percussion master Pernell Saturnino, American tenor sax titan Mark Turner, Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez, and Feldman’s homeboy and lablemate, trumpeter Diego Urcola.
For the Cordoba-born Feldman – a respected sideman with Paquito D’Rivera and Pablo Aslan – This project, the long-awaited, ten year follow-up to his debut CD, El Angel (Song-O-Saurus), is not only a moving and modern mélange of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messenger swing, and Weather Report-style sonic seasonings, laced with Afro-Latin/Argentine rhythms and textures: It’s a summation of all of influences that have been brewing in Feldman for a decade.
“…I think this album is a continuation of my first album, El Angel,” Feldman writes in the CD liner notes,” which includes different spirits, different colors and styles in the manner of an actor representing different roles. But always finding my voice and my personality in each one of them: the joy and humor of Latin rhythms, the sadness and melancholy of the tango, the drama of swing [and] the pause and sweetness of the ballad.”
Feldman’s saxophone voice, an impressive amalgam of Jackie McLean’s fire, and Charlie Parker’s dexterity, find its musical motivation in this recording inspired by family members new and old, and places and spaces dear to him.
‘Mrs. Tangoholic,” “The Improvisers,” Wayne Shorter’s “Children of the Night” are three numbers driven by bluesy Cubop/hardbop syncopated stylings. In contrast, “So Tenderlee,” a shout-out the legendary alto sax legend Lee Konitz, represents the birth of a new kind of 4/4 cool. Pascoal’s intricately constructed title selection moves and grooves with the tricky twists and turns of a Brazilian rainforest, with saxophonist Javier Perez. “Coco de Bahia” is another Brazilian-buoyed contribution, while Guillermo Klein’s chacarera-charged “El Minotauro,’ Astor Piazolla’s mournful “Triunfal,” and the dancing strings on the Carlos Franzetti arranged “New Tango,” offer old and new dreams of Buenos Aires past and present. Feldman’s “Peace to Find” broods in a silkenly silent way and closes out the CD, graced with the leader’s labyrinthine soprano sax lines augmented by the spirited vocals of guitarist and Argentine rock legend, Luis Alberto Spinetta.
The source of Feldman ease at crossing musical genres is his eclectic musical education. Growing in Cordoba, Feldman was lucky to have a father who served as Director of Culture for the town. It was he who hired a young Astor Piazzolla for a gig. He also benefited from a long association Hermeto Pascoal, whom he met in 1979, and the next year Feldman played in bandoneon master Dino Saluzzi’s group. He later won the Outstanding Performance Award as the Best Soloist in Fusion in Buenos Aires in1986, and in 1992 he won the Achievement Scholarship Award from Berklee College of Music, where he graduated cum laude in 1995 with a Major in Professional Music. He quickly developed a well-deserved reputation as versatile musician, as evidenced by his work with Paquito D'Rivera's United Nations Orchestra, once led by the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Alex Acuña, Eumir Deodato, and Bebo Valdes.
South American by birth, a tanguero by heart and an improviser of the first order, Oscar Feldman’s Oscar e Familia represents the beginning of the blend of hemispheres; a true jazz de las Americas.