Sonocardiograma, the name of Cuban singer and songwriter Daymé Arocena new release is not just a title but also both a description and declaration of purpose.
“The name Sonocardiograma is inspired in the word echocardiogram, a medical exam to check if your heart is working properly,” explained Daymé in a recent conversation from her home in Havana, Cuba. “When we were thinking about the concept of the album and its title, we knew we wanted to create something that was a snapshot of who we are inside.”
No matter the artist, not even a superiorly talented artist, a record such as Sonajero cannot be simply penciled in as another “to do” job. It has to be earned. This is not the album to show off your playing or how complex you can write. It’s about life experiences and lessons learned, on and off stage. It’s a recording of deeply felt stories, told with sincerity and grace.
New Tango master Astor Piazzolla (11 March 1921–4 July 1992) packed a lot of living in his writing and his playing.
Tango is the music of Buenos Aires — but the man who would challenge so many of its traditions and clichés, and in doing so would bring it kicking and screaming into a new world, was not even a porteño, as the inhabitants of Buenos Aires are called.
Masterpieces spark new work. Piazzolla in Brooklyn was inspired by a dreadful recording.
Take Me Dancing, a 1959 jazz tango album by New Tango master Astor Piazzolla, was dreadful. Astor Piazzolla said so.
It’s an early summer Saturday afternoon in El Barrio, in New York and the guys have taken the chairs to the sidewalk, right on Second Avenue, right next to the Old Timers Lounge, and are just sitting around, hangin’ out, making plans for the big stickball tournament next week – and talking about Tito. They are loud. But as they bluster and laugh, they also mourn.
“Jazz is not a what, it is a how,” said pianist Bill Evans.
It is a deceptively simple statement with profound implications. Rather than defining jazz by a certain canon — demanding, for example, that it includes a direct connection to the blues, have swing or some other distinctive, essential element — Evans suggests jazz as a way to do things, to relate to the world.
For some, each discipline in the arts is a self-contained universe, each with its own materials and tools and ruled by their own laws. But great art transcends — sometimes in unexpected ways.
Consider the reaction of pianist, composer and educator Arturo O’Farrill to the work of Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988).
Astor Piazzolla imagined la hora cero as the time after midnight, “ an hour of absolute end and absolute beginning.” It was not by chance, then, that early in his career, he titled one of his breakthrough pieces “Buenos Aires Hora Cero.” It could not be by chance that, as he was entering his autumn days, he called the album that summed up decades of hard work and carried deep personal hopes and professional expectations, Tango Zero Hour. By the mid-1980s, Astor Piazzolla had long been celebrated in Europe, and finally, grudgingly, been given the respect he deserved in his native Argentina. The irony was that despite his American upbringing, recognition in the United States still eluded him.