The imaginative musicality and extraordinary range of bassist Jorge Roeder – born and raised in Lima, Peru, but living in the United States for nearly two decades – can be easily discerned by the artistic company he keeps. Roeder is a longstanding collaborator of guitar-star Julian Lage, exploring a panoramic range of Americana styles in his hit band; together with Lage, Roeder also works with avant-garde maestro John Zorn as part of his New Masada Quartet. The New York-based Roeder is a key member of Israeli pianist Shai Maestro’s trio, which mixes the ethereal with the earthy. The bassist has also partnered closely with Argentinian singer-songwriter Sofia Rei, who draws on a broad palette of South American traditions, and with trombonist Ryan Keberle in his politically minded jazz ensemble Catharsis. Even with this far-reaching, well-documented experience, Roeder’s debut album of solo double-bass – El Suelo Mío, due for release via streaming, download, and CD, on July 3rd – may come as a dazzling surprise with its irresistible melodicism and rhythmic buoyancy. This ravishing collection blends the bassist’s original compositions and improvisations with deeply lyrical Peruvian and Brazilian songs,
Here is a performance of Roeder's title track from the album "El Suelo Mío."
Explains Jorge Roeder, “The phrase ‘El Suelo Mío’ (translated as ‘land of mine’) is taken from the lyrics of the song ‘Bello Durmiente,’ by Peru’s foremost folkloric music composer, Chabuca Granda, as a musical homage to Peru. Although it may sound like a patriotic reassurance, my own allegiances to land have become more complex, as they tend to be with an immigrant’s experience. This track takes the first melodic phrase from the Granda song, that says ‘Te amo Perú’ (‘I love you, Peru’), and then departs from the song to reflect my own musical ideas. It represents the convergence of all the things this record is about, starting with the melodic influence of Charlie Haden, added to the trove of solo bass albums of the recording label ECM, and taking a little bit from my classical training (Igor Stravinsky in particular) and my early, nylon-string guitar days in Peru. In fact, I applied the shapes I learned on the guitar to this piece—for example, the E major open chord—although transposed to different chordal possibilities under a low D pedal. I tried to utilize the instrument’s full polyphonic potential, going from double, to triple, and even quadruple stops, in which I play all the strings of the bass to produce a messy, rich, deep sound.
The phrase “el suelo mío” can also be interpreted as ‘the floor of mine’ or ‘the ground of mine,’ which I attribute to references to the role of the bass in music. The bass is usually regarded as the foundation of any musical rendition, and the way I see music is and has always been through the lens of the bass part. So when I present this body of work, it comes from the roots, the “ground” of the music that is a part of me.”
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