I Went To See A Band...


The Thursday night shows outdoors, in front of CC Recoleta, in Plaza Francia, are big fun parties, with all kinds of people, all ages, having fun. We say Sol Peryea among others this time. She was a pretty well known musician in the 2000s, with her band Los Cocineros, and then solo, getting lots of radio play. These days, she is playing with DJ Kareem, who provides beats, but she still plays live trumpet and guitar, and sings. Every thursday Villa Diamante, the host and ringmaster, has several guest musicians who do 3 to 5 song minisets. Always different, always fun, and free. 3 year old girls were dancing right in front, alongside grandmothers and hipsters.


This summer we have gotten to see Sexteto Irreal several times. This time, they played at Club BeBop, a jazz club in Monserrat. Downstairs, the club is classy and old fashioned, with red velour banquettes and wall, mirrors and white shirted waiters. Reserved seating, as it only holds a bit more than a hundred people.
Sexteto played more towards the jazz side of their repetoire, honoring the venue.
Since there was a grand piano there, Axel Krygier played that a lot more than his usual electronic keyboard, which he obviously enjoyed. He was really into the acoustic grand, and it changed the sound of the band in a great way. Every member of this band is such a consummate musician, and all are multi-instrumental, so the character of the music can really range. Never the same song played the same way.

"It's like a jazz band, but without jazz," says Christian Basso.
They are planning on recording an album this year, their first since 2010.
and they have been playing live more in the last year than they have in a long time.
It used to be they might play once in a year. I have seen them 4 times in just over a year now.

If you get a chance to see them, I recommend it.
Its a mix of types of music that nobody else does, and its always great.


The dog days of summer- February has been hotter and muggier than January, and there hasnt been much music to go see.

I did go to La Tangente, to see Lolo Gasparini and the Rumanians- late night electronic dance music, in the air conditioned bridge of the starship Palermo. I enjoyed it, it was non-stop beat, maybe a hundred people, dancing, like a house party.

I have been to CCR a couple more times, as well.
But the best thing I have done lately was go to a private concert at the home/studio/performance space of Carlos Libedinsky. He is most known for his band NarcoTango, started back in the early 2000s.
Now, he lives in Berlin half the year or so- the Germans are pretty supportive of Tango, and actually pay to see it performed.

Thru a friend, I got on the secret email list, and was able to get to see a concert- an ordinary house in Belgrano, but inside, its all music. The performance space is tiny- 30 people is the absolute maximum, I think there were about 25 that night. But it has professional lights and sound system, and is intimate and comfortable.

The night began with drinks on the patio, and then, a solo set from Kabusacki.
I have seen Kabusacki a lot, he is always different. He began trance like and dreamy, playing layers of treated guitar, waves of sound.
this video is a lot what it was like. If you didnt know he was playing a guitar, and only a guitar, you would think it was a full band, with woodwinds and keyboards and strings.



Then after a break, Libedinsky and his trio performed.
Trumpet, Drums, and Libedinsky on Bandeon and electronics.
It was more of less jazz, in terms of structure, improvisation, and flow, but it included lots of tango- how can it not, with bandeon as one of the key instruments. Often the songs were built upon electronic drum and rhythm patterns, allowing the real drummer to play more experimentally, as a fully improvising member of the trio.

The actual name of this lineup is Poliedro Trio.

this is a video of the actual event. that might even be my head on the lower left.

As you can see, Kabusacki's guitar is still on stage.
At the end of an hour or so long set by the trio, Kabusacki came back on and played with them for the final ten minutes or so, and he was really ripping it up.

it was a pretty amazing evening. transformative, and personal.



Ries, have you ever made it to Virasoro Bar ? A small and intimate venue for jazz. Maybe not your thing.


Sunday nights, I have been going to the back garden at Temple Bar on Costa Rica.
My friend Villa Diamante Djs there on Sundays, always with different guests, alternating sets.
This week, it opened with Barda, who is not a DJ in the traditional sense- she doesnt often play records, or prerecorded songs, by herself or others. Instead, she builds a beat, in Ableton live, right there- adding drums and bass and percussion. Then, she sings, and plays instruments over the top- last night, she was mostly playing her charengo, Jerry Garcia style. This was dance music, people were dancing, but it was also folk/tribal/experimental.
She is pretty cosmic. In a very argentine way.
This is her, performing outdoors, in December, in the delta near Tigre.

The next set was pretty cosmic too.
Vincent Moon, a french filmaker, who is most well known for his international series of short films about musicians, the Take Away Shows. He spent a lot of time in Argentina back in 2010 or so, and shot a lot of argentine musicians. But for the last few years, he has been filming rituals, of various sorts, from all over the world- Italy, Brazil, Israel, the Faroe Islands. He also records music wherever he goes.
This evening, he screened a film, which I think is sort of a montage of rituals- but it was hard to tell, as he was screening it on a brick wall, in front of which was a lot of vegetation- so it was layers of jungle on jungle, real and cinematic mixed, clouded by smoke. In front, on the floor, was a large altar, arrangements of fruit, burning candles, and incense, which the dancers had to be careful to avoid. And for the 45 minutes or so the film ran, he played a live, improvised set of snatches of song, drums, spoken word, crickets, birds, and rituals, from field recordings, overlaid with live percussion he was playing in between mixing the music. It was extremely psychedelic. Me, I didnt even attempt to make sense of the visuals, I just sat back and let the whole thing take me higher. (before I was a punk rocker, I was a hippie. Old habits die hard).
The 50 or so people in the garden like patio were pretty entranced.
This video shows the kind of thing he was screening.


Ries, have you ever made it to Virasoro Bar ? A small and intimate venue for jazz. Maybe not your thing.
yes, I go to virasoro. It totally depends on who is playing there, but I have seen several memorable shows there. I also go to Cafe Vinilo, and Velma, and I used to go to Boris, before they closed.


It seems like this year is slower to get going, in terms of interesting concerts, than usual.
One of my standby weekly events, La Grande, is on hiatus until March 5, because of construction at their usual venue. Instead, they will be playing at Salon Siranush, in Palermo, on Tuesdays starting on the 5th. Hopefully back to Santos Dumont 4040 sometime in April.
They did play a free outdoor concert on the terrace of CCR last Saturday, though, with Axel Krygier sitting in, replacing normal 2nd Horn player Ramiro Flores. It was a well attended show, with lots of children, a very wide spread of ages on a nice warm evening. The second half of the show featured three different rappers sitting in, to the great appreciation of the crowd- the cheers for the melange of hip hop, cumbia, and jazz were the biggest of the evening. It wasnt as great as a normal night in Santos 4040, but it was still pretty entertaining. CCR is still doing free events several nights a week.


Sunday we took the trusty colectivo 111 to the dark and quiet back side of Cementario Chacarita, to go to a small cooperative arts space, a house with a wonderful garden, to have a drink eat some papas bravas, and see Alejandro Franov and his trio play some free jazz. It was small and intimate, a crowd of maybe 20 people, and it was wonderful. A handful of children under 12 romped around, although they retreated to the garden after the second song. He played with the same contrabaso player as in this older video- Gerardo De Monaco- who was great, and a percussionist, Carlos Rivero. It was more freeform and improvisational, not quite as "jazz" as this vid, and we enjoyed it quite a lot. This kind of show is a rare treat to see. For the last 30 years or so, Franov has played with many different performers- I have seen him play bandeon with electro cumbia bands, electric piano with singer songwriters, straight jazz, keys with punk rocks bands, and he is the regular keyboard player with La Grande- he can play anything, anytime. But this sort of improv is what he loves the most.


I am back in Buenos Aires for the summer, and the very first day, I had to go see some music.
La Grande is back, after a 9 month hiatus at Sala Siranush, in their original home or 4040 Santos Dumont.
I missed the whole Siranush run, although my wife was down for a couple of them.
Siranush is classier, but without the funk of the Santos Dumont space.

La Grande is always great- the core band can play anything, and the guest artists run a very wide gamut.
This night, they started the second set with Xabier Diaz.
He is most well known for his Spanish Folk music, both as a vocalist and as a tambourine player. Like anything else, tambourine can be simple, or, with study and practice, sublime. He is a percussionist, and it shows.
Like any invitado at La Grande, he had to modify his music to fit within the flow, and find his spot among the 9 other musicians on stage. One thing they often do is allow the guest to intitiate a call and response with the band- and to see him play a small phrase on the tambourine, and then see it answered by two trombones telepathically linked to play the same phrase, in unison, immediately, is pretty amazing.

Later guests included several rappers, and an amazing young woman who had the pipes of Janis Joplin crossed with Tina Turner.
I didnt catch her name, but I will try to track her down- she could really sing.

Thats part of the great pleasure of La Grande- the unexpected, the mix of seemingly incongruous styles, and the informal and friendly atmosphere.
Of course, I am going tonight.