I didn't move to Buenos Aires expecting to find jazz. I'd grown up in New York, the jazz capital of the world, and going to hear "the music" in Argentina seemed roughly equivalent to catching a baseball game in Paris—a waste of time that would only make me long for home.
About a month after arriving in Buenos Aires, I went to hear Ramiro Flores's quintet at Thelonious. My expectations were low. The venue was cool. The music was astounding. When Ramiro and his band played "L'aprés-midi d'un Curupi," his riff on the legend of a well-endowed Paraguayan faun, it sounded as savvy and of the moment as anything Jason Moran was doing at the time.
The more Argentine jazz I heard, the more I became convinced it was special. Not only was this accomplished music on aesthetic grounds, but it also seemed to have a deep connection with its time and place. This music was the soundtrack to Buenos Aires in 2008. The link between American jazz and post-millennial New York had felt more strained.
I wanted to know why Argentine jazz was so vital. The quest led me to seek out many of Buenos Aires' jazz musicians, to pick their brains, to befriend them, and to begin to assemble an answer.
The New Argentine Jazz
Pipi Piazzolla talks about how the Argentine economic crisis changed jazz...
...and sticks around for a rhythm class
Juan Cruz de Urquiza examines the legacy of his group Quinteto Urbano
Richard Nant discusses his years at Berklee
Esteban Sehinkman delves into the theory behind his Real Book Argentina
The Cutaia brothers talk about the history and mystique of their club, Thelonious
Fer Isella gets into the nitty gritty of mic placement (coming soon...)
Plus, previously published interviews and profiles: