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Dino Saluzzi’s first live album for ECM finds the Argentinean bandoneon master at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, presenting new orchestral compositions. Dino himself is principal soloist throughout the recording, joined by Anja Lechner and brother Felix Saluzzi at points along the way.

The flowing music, with strings shadowing the movement of the bandoneon, extends the spirit of Dino’s “storytelling” solo works such as “Andina” (to which the piece “Plegaria Andina” makes reference). Dino says, “a lot can be told using few elements. The music should not be too rational. It has to brim with innocence.” “On ‘El Encuentro’” writes Javier Magistris in the liner notes, “the collaboration with cellist Anja Lechner and saxophonist Felix Saluzzi adds a new chapter of beauty in a wider and more complex structure. The soliloquies of the three main characters intertwine prodigiously, like a naturally-flowing current, each voice attaining its greatest expressive splendour by interacting with the harmonic structures.”

The project was set in motion by Amsterdam-based writer/producer Gustavo Pazos, who had visited Saluzzi in Buenos Aires in 2004 to prepare a radio portrait of the bandoneonist-composer, and got to hear some of Dino’s works-in-progress. Holland’s Metropole Orchestra subsequently expressed interest, and with the support of NPS Radio it was possible to present the music in Amsterdam. Pazos points out that the Metropole Orchestra has “fulfilled a major cultural role in the Netherlands” with its long history of encouraging musicians outside the classical mainstream.

“El Encuentro” marked a first-time encounter for composer and orchestra (and both the Metropole Orchestra and conductor Jules Buckley make ECM debuts here) but the cast of soloists draws on some long-standing playing associations, in the case of Dino and Felix more than 60 years of collaborations. They started making music together as children, and today Felix frequently works with his brother in Dino’s “family band” projects, as heard on albums including “Mojotoro” and “Juan Condori”. Felix also plays in a new group with Dino and cellist Anja Lechner, a trio whose formation was a direct result of the shared experience of playing together on “El Encuentro”.

Anja Lechner has worked closely with Dino since the mid-1990s, beginning with the “Kultrum” alliance between Saluzzi and the Rosamunde Quartet, a collaboration which in several respects prefigured “El Encuentro”. She has also toured widely in duo with the bandoneonist, and recorded with him on “Ojos Negros” in 2006.

“El Encuentro” (The Encounter) is released in time for Dino’s 75th birthday on May 21st, 2010.

Earlier this year the Saluzzi brothers and Anja Lechner appeared as soloists with the Musikkollegium Winterthur, performing Dino’s “Sinfonia Concertante”.

In July 2010, Dino is the subject of a special ECM focus at the Atina jazz Festival in Italy. There, he will be joined on stage by Felix Saluzzi, Anja Lechner, John Surman, Palle Mikkelborg, Rosario Bonaccorso and UT Gandhi.

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One of the most important figures in contemporary South American music, Timoteo "Dino" Saluzzi was born in Campo Santo in North Argentina and led his first group at the age of 14. He began to play professionally while studying in Buenos Aires, where he also met and befriended Astor Piazzolla, then in the process of developing the Tango Nuevo idiom. In 1956, Saluzzi returned to the district of Salta to concentrate on his compositions, now consciously incorporating folk music elements. In the early 1970s he was associated with Gato Barbieri, helping the saxophonist toward a rediscovery of his own roots on such influential albums as "Chapter One: Latin America".

Saluzzi's ECM discography was launched in 1982 with a solo album, a spontaneous example of the bandoneonist's art as "storyteller"; this marked the first of many "imaginary returns" to the little towns and villages of his childhood. From the beginning of the 1980s Saluzzi made numerous collaborations with European and American jazz musicians – amongst those initiated by ECM were meetings with Charlie Haden, Palle Mikkelborg and Pierre Favre ("Once Upon A Time - Far Away In The South”), with Enrico Rava ("Volver"), with Marc Johnson ("Cité de la Musique"), with Tomasz Stanko and John Surman (on Stanko's "From The Green Hill" album) and with Palle Danielsson ("Responsorium"). Of the 1996 recording “Kultrum” collaboration with the Rosamunde Quartet, Gramophone wrote “This particular recording is perhaps the best example I’ve yet heard of a music that rises naturally from its mixture of influences – here the South American tango and folk traditions and the European string quartet.” The orchestral “El Encuentro” takes the story to the next stage of development.

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Conductor Jules Buckley has specialized in music between the idioms, and worked with musicians from Airto Moreira to Brian Eno to the Arctic Monkeys. Guest conductor with the Metropole Orchestra, he first came to wider attention in 2004 as the founder/director of the Heritage Orchestra.

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