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Tano Pumara: Incierto (2022)

This thing swings! There’s a kind of hot, 1930’s Parisian energy to talented violinist Tano Pumara’s new album, Incierto, a tight, small combo album.

Stylistically, the album sits solidly in the category of hot club-style jazz (or jazz manouche), the style originating with Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt--or Stephane Grappelli in his Quintette du Hot Club de France. Like Django’s, Pumara’s combo’s sound is light, bright, upbeat.

An album of mainly standards, the album includes On the Sunny Side of the Street, I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Sandu, and Wave.

Especially charming is the second track, I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, with its stomp section introduction and its charming washboard-y French jazz percussion and brushes. It feels authentic. It feels like you’ve stepped from the time machine, and now you are an ex-pat in Parisian jazz golden years. This chart also features fellow violinist Jason Anick, a hot-jazz master and regular teacher at Christian Howes Creative Strings Workshop (CSW) in Ohio. Anick is also a regular at WoodFest, an all-day acoustic music festival in the Kansas Flint Hills. Pumara, originally from Argentina, continues to live in his home country, but performs regularly internationally, including at CSW. Incierto, the title track, is a Pumara original. The tune embodies Nuevo Tango (New Tango). The tune oscillates between the gritty sul ponticello and warmer sounds, a dichotomous contrast especially prevalent in the tune’s introduction, where one can almost hear every touch of the bow and string. This tune appears to homage Antonio Agri, an iconic tango violin player from the 1950s-90s. A far-reaching source, Pumara chooses Fito Paez’s iconic 11 y 6 to cover on the album. Paez is a mega rock superstar in Argentina. The song, a kind of anthem in his home country, gets a bright, upbeat take by Pumara. Pumara also uses a violin rhythmic technique called “the chop” to create a percussive thud on the instrument, snare-like, throughout his take on this tune. On this one, Pumara is a one-man band: percussion, strings/melody, bass. Solo, he sounds like many. As Pumara said.

“The project of recording this album started during the pandemic with the idea of realizing a synthesis of my musical journey in life. There is a protagonist embodied by the violin, the instrument that accompanies me since I was five years old. Without thinking too much (about) these styles or musical genres just showed up in my life, and they continue to be present in my journey: jazz, Argentinian folk music, tango, and Argentinian rock. I think the result is hard to put in a box…This was recorded live in December 2021 with musicians on the jazz scene in Argentina.”

Mainly a quartet, Pumara’s personnel on the album include the following: Francisco Seglie on guitar, who replicates the Django style, and tastefully accompanies Pumara with another able set of strings. Fefe Botti, on bass, is rock steady, and produces soulful solos on Sandu and Zamba para la Viuda, tunes to lean into. Mono Valle on drums captures the jazz manouche feel, mainly on brushes. As previously mentioned, Anick joins on violin, and Matias Martino plays bright piano on Incierto.

Incierto can be found on Spotify as well as popular streaming services. If you like Django, you’ll like Pumara. Enjoy!

—Kevin Rabas & Ramiro Miranda

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