A purveyor of complex music rendered immediately accessible, composer and bandleader Guillermo Klein makes his debut at Newport
With his long-running large ensemble Los Guachos, Klein's intuitive, unforced hybrid of big band jazz, Argentinean folk rhythms and the modern classical idiom have won him devotion from many of today's hottest jazz musicians.
As crowds trickled into Newport on Sunday morning, Los Guachos led off the final day of festivities with bright, colorful music. Klein drew from throughout his catalog, from favorites rich in groove-heavy rhythm to two new, previously unrecorded charts. In fact, the band spent the previous night in Smalls, Los Guachos' old haunt in Greenwich Village in the 1990s, rehearsing the unheard material for a New York audience.
Born in Buenos Aires, Klein knew little about jazz when he left Argentina to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. But while he studied jazz history in school, he started composing for big band; after graduating, he moved to New York and set up the ensemble that would become Los Guachos with some of his classmates. Through weekly gigs for little money, his music built a loyal following among the cream of New York's young, progressive crop.
For the last eight years, Klein has lived abroad, in Argentina and Spain. Since he left, however, Los Guachos have continued their association, releasing several albums lauded by the jazz press. The band's latest, Filtros, arrived in June 2008.
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