Album: Contrabajo, Works for Bass and String
Artist: Pablo Aslan
Serene, lulling, and operatic, the playing of acoustic bassist Pablo Aslan can bring a tear to one's eyes and simultaneously lift one's spirit and incite joy in one's heart. His latest recording Contrabajo, Works for Bass and String Quartet is a superbly arranged collection of mindful soliloquies, symphonies, and discourse. Track after track, the listener feels like the music is playing out an opera with the dramatic phrasing of the strings and reflexive voicing of Aslan's bass notes. The symphonic lift in the instrumentation is penetrating and holds the audience in rapt attention.
The swivels and squiggles of Paquito D’ Rivera's clarinet scampering across "Tanguajira" has the intensity of a tango fused with the fluidity of a choreographed ballet. The strings played by the Cuarteto Petrus quartet turns mournful and crestfallen along "Te Extrano Buenos Aires" as Aslans bass enhances the sullen mood. The instruments move with the grace of a dance, moving elegantly around each other. There is an Igor Stravinsky quality in the orchestration that grips the listener's senses.
The ambience of Duke Ellington's iconic piece "Come Sunday" changes to a romantic interlude as the weeping sensations flowing and ebbing from the quartet's strings canvass the track with soft strands, twining and twisting. The interplay is sonically beautiful and majestically mellow. The bowing action of Aslan's bass produces a hypnotic rhythm joined by the flexing and coiling of the strings along "Tango para Cuerdas," making for an engaging dance akin to the amorous entanglements of a Puccini composition.
As graceful as a ballet, as dramatic as an opera, and as suave as a passionate tango, Pablo Aslan's recording is a viable entry in the history books alongside the works of Igor Stravinsky and Giacomo Puccini. Aslan and his collaborators created something very special with worldly appeal.
Pablo Aslan: acoustic bass
Cuarteto Petrus Quartet:
Pablo Saraví: violin
Hernán Briático: violin
Adrián Felizia: viola
Gloria Pankaeva: violoncello
Paquito D’ Rivera: clarinet on "Tanguajira"
Raúl Jaurena: bandoneon on "La Cumparsita"