Emilio Solla is reviewed by The NYC Jazz Record with his new album Puertos: Music from International Waters

THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD

by Alex Henderson

Emilio Solla

THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD | JANUARY 202031
Buenos Aires native pianist Emilio Solla has been fusing jazz with tango for over a decade, leading groups of various sizes, including the 17-piece big band billed as the Tango Jazz Orchestra on Puertos: Music from International Waters. Solla also features five guest musicians: three percussionists (Samuel Torres, Arturo Prendez and Franco Pinna), pianist Arturo O’Farrill and harp player Edmar Castañeda. The bandoneon of soloist Julien Labro often suggests the late tango innovator Astor Piazzolla as does Solla’s composing. However that isn’t the only Latin music influencing Solla as he draws on everything from AfroCuban music on “Llegará, Llegará, Llegará” and “Sol La, al Sol” to Colombian cumbia on “Allegrón” and Spanish flamenco on “Andan Luces”. The dusky “La Novena” gets inspiration from tango, Latin American boleros and the arranging of bandleader Gil Evans all at once; the Davis-flavored “Four for Miles” recalls Evans and Davis’ famous collaborations. “Puertos” is the Spanish word for “ports” and the concept of this album is port cities around the world and their connection to immigrants, Solla composing “Llegará, Llegará, Llegará” for Montevideo, Uruguay, “Sol La, al Sol” for Havana, Cuba and “Four for Miles” for his adopted home of New York City. Dedicated to Benguela, Angola, “Chacatrik” has a strong southern African influence and the flamenco-influenced “Andan Luces”, appropriately, is dedicated to Cádiz, the Andalusian city in the far south of Spain. Although Solla dedicates “La Novena” to his native Buenos Aires, he dedicates “Buenos Aires Blues” (combining tango elements with a Charles Mingus-like arrangement) to New Orleans. Puertos doesn’t pretend to be a traditional tango album; the idea of the project is different cultures coming together musically. Solla’s willingness to take chances makes for a consistently intriguing listen

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