Jimmy Kansau | Swinging The Latin American Songbook, Vol. 1

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Latin: Latin Jazz Moods: Type: Vocal
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Swinging The Latin American Songbook, Vol. 1

by Jimmy Kansau

Caribbean songs of the mid-twentieth century reinterpreted through the language of the American jazz
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Dama Antanona
3:55 $0.99
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2. Anhelante
5:07 $0.99
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3. Haz Lo Que Tu Quieras
4:45 $0.99
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4. Ingenua
4:31 $0.99
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5. Como Fué
3:24 $0.99
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6. Vereda Tropical
5:31 $0.99
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7. What a Difference a Day Makes
4:17 $0.99
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8. Mi Propio Yo
4:14 $0.99
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9. Moliendo Café
3:22 $0.99
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10. Tu, Mi Delirio
5:09 $0.99
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11. Alma Llanera
3:59 $0.99
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12. Desesperanza
4:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
1.Dama Antañona (Francisco de Paula Aguirre, Venezuela)
The Original song is a Venezuelan Waltz that dates back from the early 20th century. Perhaps the most difficult piece to translate into the big band style
because the original form (three distinct sections with an instrumental middle section) is not
typical in the jazz idiom. I therefore decided to "go for it"and create
an epic sounding arrangement with multiple themes. I started with a
modern sounding intro and put the melody in the bass and bari sax. The
horn melody that follows is meant to set a dark and haunting mood before
introducing the minor verse. The B section of the original which sounds
very classical is translated into a bop-sounding horn soli section with
dense harmony and rhythmic syncopation (this had to also be converted from
3/4 to 4/4). The C section then introduces a new bright major theme. The
horn parts are meant to sound a little edgy in order to ease the dramatic
shift in tone from the verse.


2.Anhelante (José Sifontes, Venezuela)
Also originally in 3/4, this minor waltz translated very beautifully into
a modern straight eighths jazz ballad in 4/4. It has the pristine, airy
quality of the music from ECM records and a modern reharmonization that
further deepens the sense of melancholy. Jimmy's creative string
arrangements enhances and compliments the mood of the piece beautifully.
There's a lot of space used in the arrangement with strings swelling,
trailing off, fading in and out, an open bass, solo etc. It feels like
the music is gliding effortlessly along.
In order to not repeat the same vocal verse, an instrumental verse is
introduced with melody in the piano and then played by the horns. There
is a modern reinterpretation of the melody followed by an alto solo on the
changes of the A section. The B section then returns with a slightly
different presentation. This time two trumpets play the theme and the
rest of the horn section provides the commentary. Finally the piece
returns to the major theme of the C section and ends in classic big band
style.


3.Haz lo que tu quieras (Concha Valdez Miranda, Cuba)
Another difficult piece to translate. The sexually suggestive theme lends
itself nicely to swampy, dirty slow swing feel, but the original has very
classic bolero changes that an opposition to that sentiment. Therefore,
we tried to compensate by suggesting blues harmonies throughout to give it
a sense of earthiness.


4.Ingenua (Dumbi, dumbi) (Luis Cruz, Venezuela)
This fun silly song with a calypso feel is given a big band treatment with
much humor. I wrote an intro that is hard driving, yet joyful and
spirited. The chorus maintains the calypso feel in the bass, but the band
style swings in a jazz style with conga ornamentation. The verse is
presented in a classic swing two-feel with some harmonization recalling
the songs of Rodgers and Hart (the original is only four chords, so it
needed some movement to sound like a jazz tune). It modulates in the
middle of the verse to give it a sense of upward mobility. The chorus and
verse a separated by a short whimsical theme with the flute as the top
voice lending a sense of lightness. Following the verses and chorus is a
humorous interlude that is a nod to the arranger Russ Garcia. The congas
play an afro feel against the stiff, jerky rhythm of the horns. The
faux-classical melody of the flute evokes images of toy soldiers. It's
very tongue and cheek, momentarily dabbling in the absurd. The song
returns to solos and a double chorus that keeps the spirit lively to the
end.


5.Como fué (Ernesto Duarte Brito, Cuba)
This popular ballad (one of the few originally pieces in 4/4) is presented
as a classic jazz waltz with gorgeous string accompaniment. This piece
also features modern reharmonizations and interesting string commentary
throughout. The introductory theme played by flute gives the piece a
wistful feeling.

6. Vereda Tropical (Gonzalo Curiel, Mexico)
Vereda Tropical was an attempt to capture the elegance of Alfredo Sadel’s version with a piano trio. I love it's sparse beauty.


7. What a difference a day makes / Cuando vuelva a tu lado (with Norma Kansau who is my sister)
(María Grever, Mexico)

8. Mi propio yo (Chelique Sarabia, Venezuela)
Mi Propio Yo attempted to embody the melancholy of the lyrics despite the challenge of a chorus in a major key. The harmonic devices and rhythmic sparsity in the A section add an edge to a very sweet sounding melody.

9.Moliendo Café (Hugo Blanco, Venezuela)
Moliendo Cafe was arranged (in the bass lines) with clave in mind to pay respect to the song becoming a salsa staple, but its the swing that connects it to the jazz tradition.


10.Tu Mi Delirio (César Portillo De La Cruz, Cuba)
Tu Mi Delirio used a Bill Evans harmonic concept to interprets the moodiness if this bolero.



11. Alma Llanera (Pedro Elias Gutierrez, Rafael Bolívar Coronado, Venezuela)
The idea was to create a big band swing version of this unofficial
Venezuelan anthem. The original is a joropo in 3/4, so there was great
care in making it swing in 4/4 while maintaining the feeling of the
original. The intro instrumental theme of Alma Llanera sounded very
similar to Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-a-ning" when put into 4/4, so I
contrasted those themes in the intro of the arrangement. The verses of
the original are very folky and triadic, so the harmony throughout was
reinterpreted in a jazz fashion recalling the Great American songbook.
The horn parts in this section were written as a conversation/response to
the vocal melody. At the B section, we were able to maintain the rhythmic
breaks of the original which provided a nice contrast to the straighter
hard driving verses. Following the solos, a classic horn soli section was
created based loosely on the melody of the verse. This helped to further
ground the connection of the original with the new big band swing feel.

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