I've written before about my love for Argentine jazz, an unexpected attraction that started on a Thursday night at Thelonious in Buenos Aires and continues to this day. Soon (fingers crossed), I'll be hosting a radio documentary on the composer Guillermo Klein and I've already spilled quite a bit of digital ink covering musicians such as Pipi Piazzolla and Dino Saluzzi. An untold story (at least in writing) of my relationship with Argentine jazz is my friendship with the guitarist Alejandro Demogli.
I met Ale through a serendipitous chain of events that began on an August 2007 night when, at the last minute, I decided to see T.K. Blue perform at Lenox Lounge instead of Bill Stewart at the Jazz Gallery. I'd known T.K. for a few years—he's Randy Weston's artistic director and saxophonist—and I wanted to catch up with him before I moved down to Buenos Aires. When I spoke with T.K. before the set, I mentioned my pending relocation. "You've got to talk to my man Hill Greene," he said, "he goes down there all the time."
When I finally spoke with Hill, it was over the phone in Buenos Aires and I was looking for an apartment to rent. He was heading back to New York in a few days, but he thought I should check in with a guy named Ale Demogli who had a place he rented in San Telmo. By the time Ale and I got in touch, I already had an apartment (his wasn't available anyway), but we agreed to meet for coffee anyway.
Over the next few months, Ale was my guide to the Buenos Aires jazz scene. He gave me the phone numbers of musicians I wanted to interview; he told me whom I should check out and whom I could pass up; he invited me to a jazz festival in Patagonia that proved one of my best weeks in the country. When I look back on that year, both lively and lonely, I see jazz filling a spot that could have been a big void.
I mention Ale now, because he's arrived in New York for a 10 day spell. He's playing tonight at FB Lounge on East 106th in a horn-less quartet that should be a great showcase for his considerable talents as a soloist. I've heard good things about the venue too—Josh Jackson called it a hidden gem. So while it's late breaking, Ale Demogli at FB Lounge is enthusiastically my pick of the week.