The Blue Hour - Songs From Argentina (La Hora Azul)
Guillermo's The Blue Hour - Songs From Argentina was recorded in Buenos Aires and released in the UK on 1st December, 2004. Guillermo Rozenthuler will undoubtedly be already familiar to both world music and jazz aficionados, to the former as a solo performer, through his own band Rioplatenses as well as his association with ensembles such as Tango Siempre, Los Mareados, Copenaires, the London Tango Orchestra and others, and to the latter through his association with Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble. Since moving to the UK from Argentina at the turn of the century, Rozenthuler has become an invaluable asset on the UK music scene and established himself as the leading tango and Latin singer.
The Blue Hour is a collection of mainly contemporary Argentinean songs, consisting of nine Rozenthuler originals and one contribution each from Hnos. Fuentes, G. Leguizamon, and A. Yupanqui. The latter three have been re-arranged by Rozenthuler in a contemporary idiom. The material combines elements of Native American and African folk roots with elementws of jazz improvisation, while reflecting the immense diversity that shapes the music of Argentina in the superb arrangements and skillful vocal improvisations. The result is something special. A finer collection of Argentine songs it would be hard to imagine. Even harder would be to match Rozenthuler's exquisite interpretations.
A charismatic performer with immense stage presence and star quality, Guillermo Rozenthuler is blessed with a remarkable voice that lends itself equally well to any form of South American music or jazz or any other kind of music come to that. It recalls the cool, laid-back smoothness of João Gilberto, as well as the passion of the great tango singers such as Carlos Gardel. Rozenthuler's voice moreover can call upon a simmering eroticism and a kind of raw sexual power, as well as deep tenderness and sensitivity. The incredible sensuousness of his live performances is well captured on The Blue Hour.
More than this, The Blue Hour also reveals Rozenthuler to be a song-smith of the first order. His songs capture a variety of Argentine styles and a great gamut of moods, yet also bring to bear influences from beyond Argentina. The songs and Rozenthuler's superb interpretations come straight from the heart and reach out to the heart of the listener with a deep sincerity and conviction that cannot fail to move. The lyrics of the title track, interpreted into English in the sleeve notes, sum up this album better than any comment. The Blue Hour, the day over, the night not yet begun, floating as through a dream... These songs speak straight to the heart, and linguistic translation is unnecessary. The heart, el corazon, is all that matters. The Blue Hour is more than an album, it is a highly evocative listening experience.
Rozenthuler's exquisite vocals and his own excellent guitar are supplemented by a superbly subtle ensemble of Argentine musicians consisting of Diego Rolon, guitar, Luis Volcoff, bass guitar, Facundo Guevara, percussion, and Paola Gamberale, vocals.
The Blue Hour deserves so much wider exposure and recognition than it has received so far. More than compelling, it is an utterly spellbinding album that is also completely consistent. To single out any particular favourite or favourites would be impossible, each and every track quickly becomes a favourite.
If you only ever buy one album of contemporary Argentinean songs, let it be The Blue Hour. You simply won't find a better singer-songwriter album than this. Beyond enchanting, it is entirely timeless and will never lose its appeal.
Guillermo Rozenthuler's The Blue Hour has a great universal appeal and ought to be in any good music collection, but in particular it surely is past essential in any singer-songwriter, Argentine, or general world music collection. ¡Viva La Hora Azul!
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