New Album: Hernán Cassibba, Nuevos Aires…
Hernán Cassibba’s sextet is a project that he leads and performs all over Argentina. It is a project whose main objective is the interpretation of his original compositions. In 2018 his first album Homenaje was released and now Nuevos Aires drops on April 21st 2023. Both albums use the same format: a sextet made up of tenor sax, alto sax, electric guitar, piano, double bass, and drums, with the addition of a string quintet (2 violins, viola, cello, and double bass), singer and piano. Furthermore, being a jazz group, the challenge was to develop improvisation on non-traditional structures in the jazz genre. For this, he did a lot of work and research on leading voices, counterpoint, as well as different rhythmic tools (polyrhythms, displacements, filters, etc), timbral tools (extended techniques, effect pedals, etc.) or harmonies to generate contrast with the simplicity of the melodies he composed. That is a challenge that he’s always experienced; the balance between the simple and the complex and generating orchestral contrasts in the forms of the songs.
In 2018, he received one of the “Best Upcoming Artists” from the blog Él Intruso which was conducted using jazz journalists in Argentina. In 2021 he was awarded a scholarship from the National Fund for the Arts with which the recording of his album Nuevos Aires was funded.
About the music:
It could be said that this work is a continuation and deepening of the previous album Homenaje. On the one hand, we see that what always predominates is the melody in its maximum clarity, but now there is a greater development of harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, and the different keys and rhythmic modulations.
In this work, he decided to explore even more in the expanded chamber group format and give improvisation a more prominent role, without neglecting the fine work on the arrangements of strings, always enhancing the melody in both pieces (“Perro Blanco” and “Lili”). The harmony in these pieces is modal, with many modulations playing with the harmonic center and generating contrasting material.
The strongest rhythmic work can be found in the piece that gives the album its name “Nuevos Aires”, where we can hear a constant 5 over 4 where that rhythmic illusion is generated where the listener begins to feel the tempo on different sides, but in reality, it is always in the same place. In the piano solo, we can see another development of the same 5 but further subdivided into 5/8. By the end of the song, we can hear the use of filters, a technique by Guillermo Klein, where the same fragment is played in binary and in ternary, giving a sensation that everything becomes slower, and then faster. All this, always with a simple melody, so that the contrast is even more noticeable. The same key can be found in the middle of “Isolation Dance”, as well as an 11/4 intro, and a funk groove in 9/4 throughout, with rhythm guitar marking the tonality.
There are also spaces for free improvisation – maintaining the harmonic and rhythmic aesthetics – on the “Resistencia” tracks, in the piano and sax solo. As well as the constant exchange of melodies between the different instruments. This is something that amuses him a lot and thinks it generates a lot of freshness in the different moments of the piece.
The album also has more intimate songs, with space to appreciate the sound of the guitar and saxophones, such as ?Chin? and “Loyola”, where there is a strong harmonic, and melodic work, with exciting solos played by Lucas Goicoechea and Nahuel Bracchitta.
In addition, his musical background has been spent many years playing rock, and that can be heard a lot in the songs “Anti-Alergico” and “P.Mc” in honor of Paul McCartney, who is his favorite musician. In these themes, you can hear guitar with distortion, piano marking the rhythm at all times, the bass playing the fundamentals, and the drums playing a continuous rhythm. The harmony in these cases is quite simplified in pursuit of clarity and the development of improvisation.