Review

Jorge López Ruiz

Un Hombre De Buenos Aires

Altercat • 1978

Over the last years, Altercat became a go-to place for quality re-releases of Latin Jazz. The Berlin label is set to publish its second 2023 reprint of Argentine arranger Jorge López Ruiz. »Un Hombe de Buenos Aires« is a masterful blend of Jazz, Funk and Bossa Nova. Complex basslines and detailed drum fills shape the album lust like its boppy grooves. However, its sonic highlight shines on the singing ensemble Buenos Aires 8. The octet became notorious for its vocal arrangements of Argentine instrumental pieces. Under Lopez Ruiz’ direction, they themselves act like an instrument. The bards use abstract echoism to duet with the brass. Bemused, they warble away to the melodies of a bandoneon, an accordion-like free reed instrument. Maybe the remastering could have used a little more oomph. On the other hand, »Un Hombe de Buenos Aires« sounds clear-cut, firm. In 1978, the album developed in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding Argentine’s capital. According to the liner-notes, Lopez Ruiz here »focuses on his love for the city of Buenos Aires« to »put the political outcry of his early 70s works aside«. The crucial point? Lopez Ruiz had to record the platter in exile. His earlier releases had been blacklisted by the military dictatorship. »Un Hombre de Buenos Aires« is the affirmation of a home that has become uninhabitable. 45 years later, its call still resonates.