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Interview El Mirador Provincial. Santa Fe


El Mirador Provincial. Santa Fe


Jorge Retamoza: an overview of his illustrious career

"Un cielo una tarde" is the new work of saxophonist Jorge Retamoza, a man who bets everything on his music. In this interview, conducted for Mirador Provincial, Retamoza shows his ideas about musical creativity and, of course, tells us about his love for music.

"I like to give something honest and sincere with my music," says Jorge Retamoza.

Photo:Courtesy of.

18-09-2022 | 14:41

Gisela Mesa
Undoubted reference of the saxophone in Argentine music, especially in tango, and with nine recordings as a leader, the saxophonist and composer explores innovative forms of tango of the XXI century with pieces that combine original compositions with improvisation, and with the sonority of a tango interpellated by chamber music and jazz gestures.
Professor of Tango Saxophone and Folklore in the Chair of Argentine Music at the Conservatorio Superior Manuel de Falla de Bs As, in the academic field Retamoza premiered his works Concierto para Saxo Tenor, Bandoneón y Orquesta, Tres Escenas Porteñas, for two Bass Clarinets and Symphonic Band, En Blanco y Negro Buenos Aires for Bandoneón and six Percussionists, Concertango for Baritone Saxophone and Orchestra, 2016 (Premio Fondo Nacional de las Artes de Argentina).
He is the first Argentine saxophonist to fully record Piazzolla's Seis Estudios Tanguísticos, and this is also the world's first recording of the work in a version for solo saxophone and string orchestra. The recording was made in Germany in co-production with the prestigious SR (Saarbrucken Public Radio and TV) of that country.

The album is composed of original works of his own and of Fernando Lerman, Claudio Ceccoli (who also participate as performers) and other composers who participated in this project on folk music of Argentina.
The guests who were part of this new album are a selection of musicians admired by Jorge Retamoza who have contributed their talent as composers and/or performers: Abel Homer - Claudio Ceccoli - Daniel Corrado - Daniel Míguez - David Marcos - Ernestina Inverinato -Ezequiel Finger - Fefe Botti - Fernando Lerman - Germán Gómez - Javier Portero - Javier Weintraub - Julián Graciano - Lilian Saba - Lucas Monzón - Marina Ruiz Matta - Mauro Ciavattini - Néstor Gómez - Pablo Motta - Pablo Ponce - Patricio Villarejo - Pedro Rossi - Pope González - Santiago Retamoza - Víctor Carrión.

In conversation with Mirador Provincial, the saxophonist talks about his new project and how he sees the musical and cultural scene in Argentina.

-When did your passion for music and especially for the saxophone begin?

-I started studying piano when I was a child, during elementary school. When I started high school I didn't want to play anymore, but I listened to all kinds of music, especially rock. From here and abroad. Some English progressive rock bands and some American bands used winds. That led me to Miles Davis' jazz-rock records and everything that was happening within that movement. There I discovered the sound of the saxophone and I fell in love with it.

-And the interest in tango?

-I had an activity as a jazz musician, I played in different groups and with musicians of my generation and older musicians who were and are in the scene, but I did not find my voice within that style. It was always sounding like so and so, quite frustrating because it's a very seductive style, riddled with stories, records, books, study methods, etc. Although within my discography there was always room for Piazzolla, Saluzzi, Rovira, Salgán and Polaco Goyeneche, for example. In my family home my parents danced tango very well, they danced it until the end of their days and that was the music that was listened to in my childhood, besides some Spanish music by my mother and some folklore because my old man was from Chaco. So in that search for my own sonority I started to copy what was on those records, what the bandoneons and/or violins play and to transfer those melodic turns to the saxophone.

-What memories do you treasure from your early career?

-I wanted to play the music I liked and not think so much about working as a musician for other artists. Keep in mind that we are talking about the mid 80's and you had to develop a sax sound for pop & rock music in order to work. That sound is
quite far from what I was listening to and intended for my development. Until there came a time when I had to adapt in order to advance in the profession to be able to play and/or record with artists linked to that world of rock and other genres, while at the same time maintaining the direction that would lead me towards Argentine music a few years later.

One afternoon in the sky
Tell me about Un cielo una tarde, how was its pre-production?

-Before the pandemic, we had played with Claudio Ceccoli in duo, some of the repertoire that later was part of this album and other original music and some classics. I also had some songs saved and I started to imagine different group formats to record them. The melodies had a folkloric air. Besides, I wrote for the occasion El Perro Lisérgico to play it with Néstor Gómez on guitar, for example, and I looked for musicians and composers from different parts of the country to contribute material as instrumentalists, composers or covering both profiles like Fernando Lerman who plays and composes two of the pieces on the album, which have several winds in their arrangements. Many colleagues were left out of the project, so maybe there will be an opportunity to do other material later on.

I really wanted to play with Lilian Saba and Lucas Monzón, so I arranged El Coco, that chamamecero air to play with them. Once the song was finished I wrote the string quartet to complete the arrangement, making not only an accompaniment but also interacting with the quartet in the piano solo, for example. Each piece on the album has an anecdote or a reason for its inclusion, for example, in Bar El Olvido, the waltz criollo that closes the album and which is the only reference to the music of Buenos Aires in this project, I asked Julián Graciano to do a solo in the style of Roberto Grela, and he also came up with that accompaniment with three guitars, which has made me very happy with the final result.

-What is it about music that still excites you today?

-The same as when I started: to find a way to communicate more directly with people, to give something honest and sincere with my music, to be able to move and make others think, to enjoy sharing with colleagues from all over the world this profession and this vocabulary that doesn't need words and to always seek to generate new projects or ideas.

-What are your musical influences?

-A lot. Piazzolla, Arolas, Ginastera, Bach, Mahler, Ravel, Saluzzi, Mercedes Sosa, Leguizamón, Spinetta, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Jobim... a lot of them.

-Are there opportunities for musical culture?
-It's difficult because, as I said, the mass public has changed the ways of having fun, everything logically crossed by an economic issue, of providing a low quality and fast consumption product, easily replenished, as if it were a supermarket shelf. The question is to go ahead producing as much as possible, giving everything and not expecting anything in return, with the tranquility of giving the best of oneself at every opportunity.