Weekly Latin Jazz Video Fix: Guillermo Klein


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A musician that strives to constantly explore new avenues of expression and challenge his listeners faces an unpredictable path. In some cases, the general public has immediately gravitated towards the passion and intensity displayed by these musicians, supporting their work in droves. The further that these artists travel outside the mainstream though, they open themselves to the possibility of alienating their public on a greater level. Critics may celebrate their work on a grand scale and an inner circle of musicians and dedicated listeners might become their biggest fans. Even with this fan base in place, these musicians will still find themselves with limited opportunities to perform and a tough financial situation. At this point, these musicians have a choice—bend the direction of their artistry to the public's tastes or continue wholeheartedly on their path. It's a tough choice for any musician; their decision will dictate the future of their career, but also determine the evolution of their artistic direction.

Over the last couple of decades, pianist and composer Guillermo Klein has uncompromisingly dedicated himself to creating artistically challenging music that defies definition but consistently captures listeners with its inherent beauty. Born in Buenos Aires in 1969, Klein was raised without an awareness of his musical inclinations until an elementary school teacher discovered his innate ability to create music. With his newly discovered talent quickly becoming his prime focus, his parents encouraged him to pursue his passion, with both guitar and classical piano lessons. As his interests broadened, his parents supported his move to the States, and in 1990, Klein began studies at The Berklee College Of Music. He spent the next four years digging into composition techniques and deepening his understanding of jazz. Once Klein graduated from Berklee, he moved to New York to build upon his music career and quickly noticed that many of his classmates had made the same decision. Looking for an outlet for his compositional development, Klein formed a large ensemble, Los Guachos, which included many of his Berklee peers. The group worked for minimal money, focusing their energy upon the development of Klein's material and his musical vision. Klein and his group landed a steady gig at Small's, allowing them to develop their repertoire and sound. Los Guachos released their first album in 1997, El Minotauro, gaining some momentum to their steadily expanding reputation. Sunnyside Records picked up the group for their next release in 1999, Los Guachos II, and continued to support the group for their following album, the 2002 recording Los Guachos III. Despite a long list of critical praises, work remained thin for Los Guachos and finances hard to manage. As a result, early in the new millennium, Klein left New York, splitting his time between Barcelona, Spain, and his home in Argentina. He recorded Una Nave in 2005 with a group of Argentinean musicians and then returned to Los Guachos to produce the 2008 album Filtros. Once again basing his work in Argentina, Klein has recorded Domador De Huellas, a tribute to the legendary composer Gustavo “Chuchi" Leguizamón. Although most of the compositions on the album belong to Leguizamón, Klein's distinctive touch sits upon the intriguing arrangements. With years of music under his belt, Klein's music carries his unique vision and beautiful insight, a result of passionate dedication and unwavering artistry.

The ability to sustain an original musical approach through decades despite any challenges is a respectable talent. In celebration of Klein's years of inspirational compositions, today's Weekly Latin Jazz Video Fix is dedicated to Klein. The first clip features Klein with Los Guachos performing “The Snake" at Moers Music Festival. In an interesting start to the second video, comedian Chevy Chase introduces Klein and Los Guachos at the 2008 Newport Jazz Festival. Saxophonist Miguel Zenón is featured in the third excerpt, performing “Chacarrichard" with Los Guachos at The Jazz Standard in 2000. The last snippet finds Klein and Los Guachos performing the piece “Miula." There's a lot of food for thought in Klein's pieces here, definitely worth some time contemplating—enjoy!

Guillermo Klein Y Los Gauchos Performing “The Snake"

Guillermo Klein Y Los Gauchos Performing At The 2008 Newport Jazz Festival

Guillermo Klein Y Los Gauchos Performing “Chacarrichard" At The Jazz Standard

Guillermo Klein Y Los Gauchos Performing “Miula"

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This story appears courtesy of The Latin Jazz Corner by Chip Boaz.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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