Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Masterpiece CD of the Month - "Carlos Franzetti: Argentum"

Masterpiece CD of the Month
Carlos Franzetti: "Argentum" (Sunnyside SSC 1454) 2016
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Release Date: June 24, 2016 
Produced by Allison Brewster Franzetti
Executive Producer: François Zalacain
Recorded by Chris Sulit @ Trading 8s Studios (Paramus, New Jersey, USA) and Ricardo Sanz @ SoundRec Studios (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Mixing & Mastering Engineer: Chris Sulit
Photo & Graphic Design: Christopher Drukker
Liner Notes: Isabelle Leymarie

Arranged & Conducted by Carlos Franzetti
Fetauring: Carlos Franzetti (acoustic piano), Allison Brewster Franzetti (electric piano, percussion), 
David Finck (acoustic bass), Juan Pablo Navarro (acoustic bass), Ricardo Lew (electric guitar), Lawrence Feldman (soprano sax)

The musical world of composer/pianist/arranger Carlos Franzetti is vast but his love and appreciation of the music of his birthplace, Argentina, has led him to become one of the foremost experts and exponents of tangos, chacareras, zambas and other Argentinean folkloric forms. His new recording, "Argentum," showcases his adept handling of the various types of music from a diverse cast of Argentinean composers, including a few compositions of his own, all in intimate combo settings.

The Buenos Aires born Franzetti was steeped in the musical traditions of his country from an early age. He moved to the United States to further his music studies and begin an incredible career as a performing pianist, composer, arranger and conductor for a wide-ranging group of artists, including Ruben Blades and Ray Barretto. Franzetti’s work has focused on the music of Argentina for inspiration and has resulted in his becoming one of the foremost interpreters of the music, and, ultimately, in his becoming a leading figure in the expansion of these traditional forms. 

For "Argentum," Franzetti has arranged a number of pieces written by well known composers, such as Astor Piazzolla, as well as works by lesser known composers, all for small ensembles led by his own exemplary piano playing. The recording sessions were split between studios in Paramus, New Jersey and Buenos Aires. The United States based musicians include his wife, pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti, bassist David Finck and saxophonist Lawrence Feldman. His Buenos Aires trio includes guitarist Ricardo Lew and bassist Juan Pablo Navarro. 

The recording begins with Juan Carlos Cobian’s well-known “La Casita de Mis Viejos,” a world-weary tune arranged for two pianos and bass. Folk music revivalist Eduardo Lagos’ chacarera “La Oncena” is done in a stripped down duo arrangement with Finck’s dancing bass. Franzetti’s own harmonically lush “Argentum” is a study in counterpoint between Feldman’s soprano and Franzetti’s melodica. The Argentinean trio executes the beloved Enrique Delfino “Milonguita” with aplomb, while their take on Piazzolla’s “Bandoneón Guitarra y Bajo” is rhapsodic and expertly played. 

Franzetti’s lilting “Romance en Sepia” features his sympathetic quartet. Franzetti’s solo take on Quintana/Ambors/Rosales “Zamba para no morir” is equally exquisite. The Buenos Aires trio returns for a whimsical take on Pedro Laurenz’s “Como dos Extraños” and “Milonga del Adíos,” a slowly developing and hauntingly beautiful original by the pianist. The program concludes wonderfully with a solo piano rendition of José Dames “Tú.” 

Carlos Franzetti is a leading voice in the development and preservation of the national music forms of Argentina. "Argentum" provides a wonderful example of the breadth of his tastes and talents. It also is a fantastic example of the different styles of music that have emerged from Franzetti’s beloved home.

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