In the 20 years that Argentine composer/arranger/keyboardist Guillermo Klein has helmed his band Los Guachos, he has consistently delivered brilliant works of art that expand the scope of the large-ensemble format. Instead of serving up swinging, horn-hook round-robin solos, Klein creates luminous landscapes where such band mates as alto saxophonist Miguel ZenÃ³n, tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry, trumpeter Diego Urcola and guitarist Ben Monder are showcased in the context of the compositions. Informed by jazz, classical and popular music, Klein creates songs that exude both the muscular and the mysterious.
On his latest 10-song excursion, Carrera, he celebrates his return home to Buenos Aires after lengthy tenancies in Boston, New York and Barcelona. While Klein wrote most of the tunes, the maestro re-envisions the Juan Carlos CobiÃ¡n/Enrique CadÃcamo tango “Mareados” as a sumptuous display of piano and guitar interplay while the first movement of Alberto Ginastera’s “Piano sonata op 22″ is an extended journey spurred by Klein’s pianism and colored by the richness of Los Gauchos’ expression. Highlights of the album include the slow and lusciously melodic “Burrito Hill” (a nod to Gil Evans), the sprightly “NiÃ±os” (written by band trumpeter Richard Nant) and the sober beauty of the pack, “Mariana,” written in 4/5 time.