Guitarist and composer Claudio Ragazzi is part of a generation of musicians as familiar and comfortable with jazz and rock as with ethnic style, as respectul of technology as of tradition.
Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina and residing in the US, Ragazzi brings to his music echoes of Duke Ellington and Astor Piazzolla, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin and argentinean song writer Luis Alberto Spinetta. Here, the lines between blues and milongas, be-bop and bossa novas, blur. Manhattan turns into a porteño's dream. That's why rhythm, turns of phrase, harmonies, illuminate each other from unexpected angles. Throughout, Ragazzi reaches for a delicate balance. This is music with unmistakable roots but a cosmopolitan flavor, streetwise and slick, it speaks of anachronistic, heart on your sleeve emotion with no-nonsense directness.
The opening "Exiled in Buenos Aires", for example, imagines Pat Metheny -meets- Piazzolla and nudges New Tango forward. Regardless the approach, the quality of Ragazzi's writing and playing consistently first rate throughout the CD.
This is music that cannot be learned from books or pieced together out of curiosity or ambition. It wouldn't sound right. It wouldn't sound like this. This music has to be inhabited over time, lived with, forgotten and remembered - and then you have to have the technique, the intelligence and the heart to pull it off. Listen.
Fernando Gonzalez, 1996.
Gonzalez writes for the Boston Glove, The Miami Herald, Down Beat and Jazzis)
Claudio Ragazzi, guitars;
Dario Eskenazi, piano;
Marty Richards, drums;
Fernando Martinez, drums
Pernell Saturnini, percussion
Evan Harlan, accordion
Lionel Girardeau, bass
Produced by Alain Mallet and Claudio Ragazzi
Recorded by Mark Wessel