Guillermo Klein & Los Guachos

Released in 2008

JazzTimes Top 10 Albums of 2008



“The composer, pianist and bandleader Guillermo Klein lived in New York from 1993 to 2000 before moving toArgentina, where he’s from, and Barcelona, where he currently lives. But he was a source of inspiration, and he is still talked about. His jazz, if you want to call it that, is built from the ground up, starting with ideas about instrumentation, then rhythm, then harmony, then gesture. In one of his large ensemble sets, there could be brass choirs, Cuban rhythm, fuguelike passages, talking, whistling, mechanical repetitions over a groove, and bits of aerated rock.”
Ben Ratliff (NY Times)

“Over the last 15 years or so, the pianist and composer Guillermo Klein has made a study of the tensile and elastic properties of rhythm. Along the way, he has built some fascinating bridges between jazz, pop, classical music and the chacareras and tangos of his native Argentina. His best music also carries smart harmonic ideas and surprising bolts of lyricism, but virtually all of it deals purposefully with the subject of groove.”
Nate Chinen (NY Times)

Track Listing:

1. Va Roman (Guillermo Klein) 7:31

2. Miula (Guillermo Klein) 10:03

3. Manuel (Guillermo Klein) 3:22

4. Yeso (Guillermo Klein) 6:09

5. Amor Profundo (Guillermo Klein) 3:00

6. Memes (Taylor Haskins) 6:45

7. Volante (Guillermo Klein) 5:52

8. Luz de Liz (Filtros) (Guillermo Klein) 11:04

9. Vaca (Traditional) 6:32

10. Louange á l’Éternité de Jesus 7:35


Guillermo Klein: piano, vocals

Richard Nant: percussion

Ben Monder: guitar

Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone, flute

Sandro Tomasi: trombone

Taylor Haskins: trumpet

Chris Cheek: soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones

Jeff Ballard: drums

Fernando Huergo: electric bass

Bill McHenry: tenor and soprano saxophones

Diego Urcola: trumpet, valve trombone

Recorded June 19-20, 2007, at Avatar Studios, New York, NY


Argentina’s loss may have been Boston and New York City’s gain when Guillermo Klein moved from his native country in 1990. But for a gentleman pianist, composer and singer whose inspirations included the plush rhythm of America’s postbop mien, Brazil’s socio-politicized Milton Nascimento, the swirling brass choruses of Duke Ellington, and the harmony of Wayne Shorter, Klein’s wild diversity seemed surprisingly misunderstood here. Since 2000, he’s lived in Buenos Aires. But that doesn’t mean he’s eschewed the influence of bop, the Duke or Shorter. The harmonies laced throughout his 11-piece ensemble and this, Klein’s sixth album, still reek of Shorter’s eccentric grace. Klein’s arrangements, even when sparse, hum with the lustrous elegance of Ellington at his haughtiest.
The composer’s usual love of mixing tempos and meters can be heard best on “Luz de Liz (Filtros),” where Klein’s dashing piano lines find themselves dancing with drummer Jeff Ballard’s experiments. What has changed, ever so slightly, is that Klein is including even more of the Latin folk music feel indigenous to his Argentine roots and his new Buenos Aires home life. It’s impossible not to hear the moist Argentine heat in Diego Urcola’s valve trombone and Miguel Zenón’s flute on “Muila.” But mostly, it’s hearing so much more of Klein’s smoky, sultry voice than usual, singing atop meters of five and seven on the softly-strung “Amor Profundo” or the gently folksy opener “Va Roman” that his heritage is most evident. Rich big-band charts, murky minimalist touches and quirky rhythms aside, Klein’s true majesty can be found on Filtros within the dedication he gives to his homelands.

A.D. Amorosi (JazzTimes)