My radio documentary, Sounds of Upheaval: Guillermo Klein and the new Argentine jazz" debuts tonight on The Checkout. Listeners in the New York area can catch it on WBGO 88.3 FM. (Or streaming live everywhere!) The Checkout airs at 6:30 p.m. My segment will likely start around 6:39. (I'll post a link as soon as it's online.)
I didn't move to Buenos Aires expecting to find jazz. I'd grown up in New York, the jazz capital of the world, and going to hear the music" in Argentina seemed roughly equivalent to catching a baseball game in Parisa waste of time that would only make me long for home.
About a month after arriving in Buenos Aires, I went to hear Ramiro Flores's quintet at Thelonious. My expectations were low. The venue was cool. The music was astounding. When Ramiro and his band played L'aprés-midi d'un Curupi," his riff on the legend of a well-endowed Paraguayan faun, it sounded as savvy and of the moment as anything Jason Moran was doing at the time.
The more Argentine jazz I heard, the more I became convinced it was special. Not only was this accomplished music on aesthetic grounds, but it also seemed to have a deep connection with its time and place. This music was the soundtrack to Buenos Aires in 2008. The link between American jazz and post-millennial New York had felt more strained.
I wanted to know why Argentine jazz was so vital. The quest led me to seek out many of Buenos Aires' jazz musicians, to pick their brains, to befriend them, and to begin to assemble an answer.