John Stein has always been, at least in musical terms, something of an international traveler. In keeping with the global undercurrent of his work, Stein partners with drummer, Matias Mingote German, a native of Argentina now living in Spain. Mingo lives and breathes tango and Stein has been dabbling in Latin styles for the better part of his career.
Stein’s partnership with Mingo provides each musician an opportunity to work with hybrid jazz genres and take their Latin vernaculars into even more exhilarating places. Emotions, The Mingotan Project, created to explore the fusion of these musical styles, derives its name from a blend of Mingo’s nickname and his favorite musical form — tango will be released January 28, 2014
It certainly takes at least two, but preferably more, to tango, so the leaders joined forces with Rebecca Kleinmann on flutes, Evan Harlan handles the accordion, and John Lockwood, a longtime colleague of Stein’s, does his typically sublime job on acoustic bass to bring their ideas to life.
The ten songs on Emotion demonstrate a fusion of North American jazz with the powerful emotion and rhythms of Afro-Argentinian tango styles, a collaboration between artists of different cultures but similar creative visions. Mingo’s drumming is mature, fluid, and authentically rooted in tradition. Stein’s guitar sings melodically, every phrase emanating from his musical soul, not simply falling off of his fingers. Kleinmann, Harlan, and Lockwood play with taste and finesse. All the contributions are virtuosic, yet always in the service of the musical whole.
The music succeeds deeply on multiple levels — fabulous musical interplay among mature musicians; memorable melody, harmony, rhythm, and form; and direct, powerful emotional connection to an audience. This is music that lingers in the mind and heart of the listener long after the notes fade . . . Highly Recommended ~ ABYSSJazz!
Whaling City Sound, the label behind it all, manages to put another, eminently important entry into its growing canon of high quality jazz recordings.