Artist: George Haslam

Date of Release: 01/04/2011

Catalogue no: SLAMCD 327

Label: SLAM

Price: £13.99

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“ONCE UPON A TIME IN ARGENTINA” is a double CD package, the 2 discs presenting 2 distinct projects.
Disc One, which is actually called “ONCE UPON A TIME IN ARGENTINA” is by a quartet including 2 percussionists. This unconventional line-up reflects what I think is the importance of rhythm in the music. In fact the whole continuous story comprises various chapters linked by different rhythms, none of which were pre-planned but were created in the studio by the combination of 2 percussionists of very different styles. The music is a continuous improvised suite of 42 minutes.

Recorded 18 October, 2008 at Estudio Sadem, Buenos Aires.
Recording engineer Adrián Odriozola.

– Juan Carlos Martello, drum kit Jorge Savelon, percussion, Ruben Ferrero, piano, pianica, percussion and voice, George Haslam baritone sax, tarogato.

Disc Two is again a studio recording, this time by a saxophone quartet - “The Walter Thiers Memorial Saxophone Quartet”. The history of jazz in Argentina and the place it holds to day is deeply indebted to the work of Walter Thiers. Walter was that rare sort of guy you meet here and there, an absolute fanatic who devoted his life to his love of the music and expressed this by helping the musicians and making things happen. All 4 members of the Quartet have reason to remember him with love and gratitude.


Recorded 17 February, 2010 at La Montana Records, Buenos Aires.
Recording engineer Néstor Diaz.

The Walter Thiers Memorial Saxophone Quartet. - Pablo Ledesma soprano, Sergio Paolucci alto, Daniel Harari tenor and George Haslam baritone




01/02/2012 Andrey Henkin

Argentina gave birth to the tango in its capital seaport, Buenos Aires, where European classical music also thrives, along with distinctive jazz expressions informed by both these traditions.
British baritone saxophonist George Haslam's extensive fieldwork in lower South America is reflected in Once Upon A Time in Argentina, a twoproject release featuring, on one disc, a free-blowing session with pianist Ruben Ferrero and percussionists Juan Carlos Martello and Jorge Savelon (the former a futurist, the latter a folklorist) and, on the other disc, a saxophone quartet with Buenos Aireans Pablo Ledesma, Sergio Paolucci and Daniel Harari on soprano, alto and tenor saxes, respectively. The first session, almost 42 minutes in length, segues between instrumental interludes via percussive ‘patches', featuring Ferrero's melodica, Haslam's tarogato (a Turkish clarinet) and other instruments, all enlivened by indigenous Chacarera and Carnivalita rhythms, climaxing with “Fireworks”, in which siren whistles and birdcalls overlay the pulse's urgent ebb and flow.
The saxophone quartet, led by Ledesma's charismatic soprano and underpinned by Haslam's soulful baritone, balances composition with improvisation, mixing chorales and tessellated textures with more dissonant sections, best exemplified by stirring tributes to Walter Thiers (a seminal figure in Argentine jazz) and Albert Ayler.
Andrey Henkin The New York City Jazz Record. February 2012


26/10/2011 Gianni Montano

" Once upon a time in Argentina "is a rather unique double CD demonstrates that, as stated in the liner notes, the experience of travelling to a land rich in musical stimuli and not lords and instrumentalists, including those involving the company to George Haslam in this endeavour.
The first disc is on the side of ethno-jazz, ranked him as the saxophonist in a brief conversation with him Campoligure, summer leg of his short Italian tour. It 'music imprint that comes out spontaneously, since there is no preordained arrangements. In fact they are comparing two worlds apparently opposed. On one side lines up a rhythmic base undoubtedly native, very lively, lush flavors, colors, dense with meaning and with a thickness in the tradition of the historic land of fire. On the other side is George Haslam, musician seventy-two, more militant groups in the most advanced of British Jazz, still eager to do new rendezvous and new adventures, taking with him, however, the weight of experience in the music of ' European avant-garde and beyond. The dialogue between these two universes of expression provides a mixed picture, surrounded by the warm South American percussion next to the timbre of a saxophone tone more oriented edges, corners and less willing to expose a theme or "sing" a melody.
The CD 1 is composed of a suite of twelve sequences, including recommended particularly "Baritone". The song begins with a forest of percussion that proceed independently building an intense, overflowing with different sounds, but taut and smooth. The saxophone develops one apparently independent of the underlying background, but a closer reading, it turns out that these items so they can build a mixed marriage surprisingly homogeneous, because the result of a lack of homogeneity performed. Everyone, in fact, plays for himself, while maintaining its specificity, but with an "ear" of regard to what others produce. From this clash was born from a miraculous balance, however, by an imbalance of the base.
On the same wavelength is also "Arrived". They leave the drums in the fourth, when they performed the baritone and the harmonica with a piercing sound in a free fall is quite disruptive. The passage of Ruben Ferrero floor moves towards the axis of the music or atmosphere coltraniane tyneriane. Meanwhile, behind, and Hammer Savelon continue to "beat" their INSTRUMENTS, growing at a steady pace and obsessive.
The second disc has a different appearance. And 'the prerogative of a quartet that pays tribute to a central figure in Argentine jazz: Walter Thiers, dynamic organizer of festivals and cool . And 'deployed the full range of saxophones and this helps to form a set sound very rich in terms of timbre. Haslam writes, then "it is' a music essentially open in form, with free diversions." Almost all the songs have, in fact, a well-defined issue exposed by the whole group, in general, followed by predominantly melodic solos, in a game of alternation between the various team members. The times are slow or moderate and can be felt everywhere an air of melancholy if not sad quite marked. The only final track "Tinto Dreams" is an episode free emphasis and is a kind of liberating.
Among the saxophonists 'home' is distinguished especially by Pablo Ledesma, effective and meaningful in every situation with his soprano who willingly and easily up to the treble. I'm not into the background, but also contribute, however, the overall sound properties of language, the altoista Sergio Paolucci and tenor Daniel Harari.
George Haslam on his part, must be stressed, he directed slyly from behind the scenes or in front , carving out for himself and precious and determining discrete interventions, however, by his mere presence, the character of the recording.
The summit of the disk is represented by a cloaked version of solemnity and pathos with a rare "St. James Infirmary" signed by the same foreign guest.
This double CD confirms the great English composer's ability to always find suitable partners in all circumstances to build projects of value, even if intentionally not particularly elaborate. With just a few signs to his companions the music flows free and spontaneous and knows how to win an audience attentive and helpful. In addition there is to highlight George Haslam, the will to never stop, to undertake ever new, constantly seek out risky situations, to face new challenges. And 'way of life fascinating and inaccessible chosen by real improvisers. Gianni Montano, Jazzitalia

"Once upon a time in Argentina" è un doppio cd piuttosto singolare che testimonia, come si legge nelle note di copertina, l'esperienza di viaggio in una terra ricca di stimoli musicali e non e di signori strumentisti, come quelli che fanno compagnia a George Haslam in questa impresa.
Il primo disco è sul versante etno-jazz, così lo ha classificato lo stesso sassofonista in un breve colloquio avuto con lui a Campoligure, tappa estiva della sua breve tournée italiana. E' una musica all'impronta che viene fuori spontaneamente, poiché non prevede arrangiamenti preordinati. Di fatto sono a confronto due mondi apparentemente contrapposti. Da un lato si schiera una base ritmica indubbiamente autoctona, molto vivace, lussureggiante di aromi, colori, densa di significati e con un suo spessore storico nella tradizione della terra del fuoco. Dall'altra parte c'è George Haslam, musicista settantaduenne, militante da sempre nei gruppi più avanzati del jazz inglese, ancora curioso di effettuare nuovi rendez-vous e nuove avventure, portandosi dietro, però, il peso delle esperienze maturate nella musica d'avanguardia europea e non solo. Il dialogo fra questi due universi espressivi fornisce un quadro variegato, dove dominano le calde percussioni sudamericane accanto al timbro di un sassofono più orientato verso toni spigolosi, angolati e meno disposto a esporre un tema o a "cantare" una melodia.
Il cd 1 è composto da una suite in dodici sequenze, fra cui si raccomanda particolarmente "Baritone". Il brano inizia con una selva di percussioni che procedono in modo autonomo costruendo un ritmo intenso, sovrabbondante di suoni diversi, ma teso e uniforme. Il sassofono sviluppa un solo in apparenza indipendente dal background sottostante ma, ad una lettura più attenta, si scopre che queste voci così contrastanti possono costruire un connubio insospettabilmente omogeneo, proprio perché frutto di una disomogeneità esibita. Ognuno, in effetti, suona per se stesso, mantenendo la sua specificità, ma con un "orecchio" di riguardo a quanto producono gli altri. Da questo incontro-scontro nasce un miracoloso equilibrio proveniente, però, dallo squilibrio di base.
Sulla stessa lunghezza d'onda è anche "Arrived". Partono in quarta le percussioni, quando entrano in scena il baritono e l'armonica a bocca con suoni lancinanti si ricade in un free piuttosto dirompente. Il passaggio di Ruben Ferrero al piano sposta l'asse della musica verso atmosfere coltraniane o tyneriane. Nel frattempo, alle spalle, Savelon e Martello continuano a "pestare" sui loro stumenti, facendo crescere un ritmo costante e ossessivo.
Il secondo disco ha tutta un'altra fisionomia. E' appannaggio di un quartetto che rende omaggio ad una figura centrale del jazz argentino: Walter Thiers, dinamico organizzatore di festival ed eventi cool. E' schierata l'intera gamma dei sassofoni e questo contribuisce a formare un insieme sonoro molto ricco dal punto di vista timbrico. Come scrive Haslam, poi " è' una musica essenzialmente aperta nella forma, con libere digressioni". Quasi tutti i brani hanno, infatti, un tema ben definito esposto dall'intero gruppo, in genere, a cui seguono assoli prevalentemente melodici, in un gioco di alternanza fra i vari componenti del team. I tempi sono lenti o moderati e si respira ovunque un'aria malinconica se non triste piuttosto marcata. La sola traccia finale "Tinto Dreams" è un episodio free e costituisce una sorta di enfasi liberatoria.
Fra i sassofonisti "di casa" si distingue specialmente Pablo Ledesma, efficace ed espressivo in ogni situazione con il suo soprano che sale volentieri e agevolmente verso gli acuti. Non sono in secondo piano, ma contribuiscono, invece, al sound complessivo con proprietà di linguaggio, l'altoista Sergio Paolucci e il tenorista Daniel Harari.
George Haslam da parte sua, occorre sottolinearlo, cura la regia sornione, da dietro o davanti alle quinte, ritagliando per sé interventi discreti e preziosi e determinando, però, con la sua sola presenza, il carattere della registrazione.
Il vertice del disco è rappresentato da una versione ammantata di solennità e dotata di un pathos rari di "St.James Infirmary" siglata dallo stesso ospite straniero.
Questo doppio cd conferma la grande abilità del musicista inglese di trovare sempre partners adatti in ogni circostanza per costruire progetti di valore, anche se intenzionalmente non particolarmente elaborati. Con poche indicazioni per i compagni giusti la musica fluisce libera e spontanea e sa conquistare un pubblico attento e disponibile. In più c'è da evidenziare in George Haslam, la volontà di non fermarsi mai, di intraprendere sempre nuovi percorsi, di ricercare costantemente situazioni in partenza rischiose, di affrontare sfide inedite. E' il modo di vivere affascinante e impervio scelto dai veri improvvisatori.

Gianni Montano per Jazzitalia http://www.jazzitalia.net/recensioni/onceuponeatimeinargentina.asp


25/10/2011 Vittorio Lo Conte

For a long time English baritone saxophonist George Haslam attends Argentina and Buenos Aires, recording with local musicians in musical situations that can not be limited in styles defined. He made his flag of freedom, even to choose styles that seem most appropriate. Since his last trip brought these two recordings, made in the studio, with two very different organic. He decided to publish them on a double CD, putting on the first session with a staff unusual: a piano and two percussionists, while the second CD is a saxophone quartet. The musicians accompanying him were Ruben Ferrero on piano, melodica, percussion and vocals, Juan Carlos Martell on drums and Jorge Savelon on percussion. The saxophone quartet is together with Pablo Ledesma sax, soprano Sergio Paolucci on alto sax and Daniel Harari on tenor sax.
With the trio we had a great time with the rhythms, encroaching into free atmosphere in a proposal which involves situations where there is still to the rhythm as a primal sound. The saxophone quartet is dedicated to the memory of the critic Walter Thiers and is a different story. Each participant plays a saxophone just giving the typical multi-instrumentalist and contemporary arrangements and the team take over. There is also a popular standard, "St. James Infirmary ", arranged by the same Haslam. It is not the first time recording with Argentine MusicStar, each time discovering new situations and interesting personalities. Remember, though, are the meetings, as well documented on Slam, with Mal Waldron and Borah Bergman, as well as his compatriot and Lol Coxhill violinist Stefano Pastor.

Da lungo tempo il sassofonista baritono inglese George Haslam frequenta l´Argentina e Buenos Aires, incidendo con musicisti locali in situazioni musicali che non si lasciano circoscrivere in stili definiti. Ha fatto della libertà la sua bandiera, anche quella di scegliere gli stili che gli sembrano piú appropriati. Dal suo ultimo viaggio ha portato queste due incisioni, realizzate in studio, con due organici molto diversi. Ha deciso di pubblicare il tutto su un doppio CD, mettendo sul primo la session con un organico insolito: un pianoforte e due percussionisti, mentre sul secondo CD c´è un quartetto di sassofoni. I musicisti che lo accompagnano sono Ruben Ferrero al pianoforte, melodica, percussioni e voce, Juan Carlos Martello alla batteria e Jorge Savelon alle percussioni. Il quartetto di sassofoni è insieme a Pablo Ledesma al sax soprano,Sergio Paolucci al sax alto e Daniel Harari al sax tenore.
Con il trio ci si diverte molto con i ritmi, sconfinando verso atmosfere free in una proposta che coinvolge in situazioni in cui ci si ancora al ritmo come elemento primordiale del suono. Il quartetto di sassofoni è dedicato alla memoria del critico Walter Thiers ed è tutt´altra storia. Ognuno dei partecipanti suona un solo sassofono rinunciando al tipico multistrumentismo contemporaneo e gli arrangiamenti ed il collettivo prendono il sopravvento. C´è pure uno standard famoso, “St. James Infirmary”, arrangiato dallo stesso Haslam. Non è la prima volta che registra con musicsti argentini, ogni volta scoprendo situazioni nuove e personalità interessanti. Da ricordare, tuttavia, sono gli incontri, pure documentati su Slam, con Mal Waldron e Borah Bergman, oltre che con il connazionale Lol Coxhill ed il vioninista Stefano Pastor.
Vittorio Lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=2958onte


29/09/2011 Bruce Lee Gallanter

GEORGE HASLAM et al - Once Upon A Time In Argentina [2 CD set] (Slam 327; UK) British baritone saxist & Slam labelman, George Haslam, has visited Argentina many times over the past twenty years. He has played & recorded with dozens of fine musicians from Argentina and has chosen two very different quartets for this double CD set. The first quartet features George on baritone & tarogato, Ruben Ferrero on piano & pianica and Jorge Savellon & Juan Carlos Martello on drums & percussion. This piece is freely improvised and continuous but is broken into twelve parts. The quartet sounds wonderful throughout with George's strong-toned bari sax or serpent like tarogato swirling powerfully while the piano & percussion dance together. Although the piece is continuous, each section evokes a different spirit or vibe. Both percussionists have different approaches yet they work together superbly. Pianist Ruben Ferrero is another wonder and plays an amazing unaccompanied solo on "Chacarera". Even with no bassist involved, trap drummer Juan C. Martello keeps the groove nailed down and joyous. An excellent date!
The second disc features the Walter Thiers Memorial Saxophone Quartet with Pablo Ledesma on soprano, Sergio Paolucci on alto, Daniel Harari on tenor and Mr. Haslam on bari sax. The eight pieces were written by by Haslam or Ledesma plus one traditional and one cover by Roswell Rudd. Walter Thiers was an important jazz promoter in Argentina who invited Haslam to play there on numerous occasions, once with the British Sax Quartet (with Paul Dunmall, Elton Dean & Simon Picard). This is a studio recording and the sound of the quartet is immense, striking and orchestral at times. These pieces are actually songs and not quite free yet the harmonies and writing is consistently fascinating. Each piece is quite different and evokes different cultures and inspirations like Albert Ayler and a North Indian Raga. Considering that quartet was not together for very long, they sound as strong as longtime groups like the World sax Quartet or Delta Sax Quartet. Both of these discs show very different sides to what George Haslam can do with different collaborators and both discs compliment each other in more ways than one. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery


15/09/2011 ires, e sono scintille in bilico tra libertà e rigore. Guido Festinese

GEORGE HASLAM / Once Upon a Time in Argentina (SLAM Productions)
Il existe une longue histoire d’amour entre le saxo baryton britannique George Haslam et l’Argentine. Il s’y rend régulièrement depuis une vingtaine d’années. Ce disque double célèbre cette relation par deux projets. Le premier, “Once Upon a Time in Argentina”, propose une improvisation de 41 minutes en compagnie du pianiste Ruben Ferrero, d’un batteur et d’un percussionniste – une séance bouillante de métissages entre rythmes latins et free jazz. Le résultat est très créatif, enlevant, merveilleux. L’autre projet est le “Walter Thiers Memorial Saxophone Quartet” avec trois saxos argentins: une musique beaucoup plus posée, réflexive, élégiaque. Deux visages très différents de Haslam, deux disques courts (41 minutes et 30 minutes), mais un tout très satisfaisant et, à mon avis, clairement le meilleur des albums “argentins” de George Haslam.
There is a long love story between British baritone sax player George Haslam and Argentina. He’s been going there a lot for the past 20 years. This double CD set celebrates this relationship with two projects. The first one, “Once Upon a Time in Argentina,” features aa 41-minute improvisation with pianist Ruben Ferrero, a drummer and a percussionist – a thrilling session of Latin rhythms cross-breeding with Free Jazz. The result is a highly creative, driving, splendid form of music. The other project is the “Walter Thiers Memorial Saxophone Quartet” with three Argentinian sax players; this music is a lot more poised, soul-searching and elegiac. Two very different sides of Haslam, two short records (41 and 30 minutes), but very satisfying as a whole and, in my opinion, clearly Haslam’s best Argentina-related release to date.
François Couture

Il sassofonista inglese George Haslam ci ha abituato a capriole creative continue tutt'altro che effimere: dietro a ogni progetto c'è sempre una regia e un'architettura implacabile. Sia come regista della sua etichetta, sia come diretto protagonista. Questo doppio cd è un atto d'amore per l'Argentina, una storia ventennale: il primo il baritono corposo di Haslam incrocia, in una entusiasmante «one take» in improvvisazione Juan Carlos Martello e Jorge Savelon: uno batterista di estrazione «free», l'altro profondo conoscitore del folk. Il secondo cd, invece, è un omaggio al sassofonista argentino Walter Thiers, scomparso nel 2000: Haslam si unisce, in quartetto, a tre dei migliori saxmen di Buenos Aires, e sono scintille in bilico tra libertà e rigore. Guido Festinese


01/09/2011 Guido Festinese

English saxophonist George Haslam has accustomed us to continue anything but ephemeral creative antics: behind every project there is always a relentless direction and architecture. Whether as a director of his label, both as a direct protagonist. This double CD is a labor of love for Argentina, a twenty-year history: the first full-bodied baritone Haslam crosses, in an exciting "one take" in improvisation and Juan Carlos Jorge Martell Savelon: a drummer extraction 'free' , the other a deep knowledge of folk.The second CD, however, is a tribute to the Argentine saxophonist Walter Thiers, who died in 2000, Haslam joins, quartet, three of the best saxmen of Buenos Aires, and sparks are in the balance between freedom and discipline. Guido Festinese


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