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Secretos de la Guitarra by Pedro Menendez Ensemble

Secretos de la Guitarra or ‘Secrets of the Guitar’ is the ninth album of Argentinian multi-instrumentalist and composer, Pedro Menendez. His music is a whirlwind of the influences ranging from Brazilian bossa nova, contemporary classical, tango, Argentinian folk, and American jazz. The music is like a gentle breeze on an otherwise warm still night in a warm country very much like Argentina. Its rhythms are graceful. It sways more than it swings. Menendez tends to remain understated in making his point.

‘Secretos de la Guitarra’ is framed as almost a classical concerto with four movements, and Menendez’s guitar taking place of a string section. This piece sounds very cinematic. This is not surprising since Menendez has scored numerous films. But, it should not be taken as background or ambient music. It is too well crafted for that. It holds its own very well as it is, but the piece could conceptually work as a score for a silent film.

As the title suggests, ‘Un dia un gato’ moves a like a slinking orange cat hypnotically pursuing an imaginary mouse in a field of tall grass and then stops, blinks and perches herself strategically to carefully watching the world around her. It is a placid piece of music with a great deal of subtle beauty.

On ‘Como seran los Pirineos?,’ Menendez employs a trio with himself on guitar, Buono on bass, and Serale on vibes. This is played very delicately and persuasively and as such may be the most beautiful and memorable of the album. It is rooted in folk with a dash of the surreal.

The final piece is ‘Zam-jazz.’ It is dedicated to Oscar Aleman who was Menendez’s teacher and guitarist to Josephine Baker. This is the one piece that truly lends itself to the jazz idiom. ‘Zam-jazz’ is an elegant tribute to his maestro. As is the rest of the album, it is simple and wise, graceful and heartfelt.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Pedro Menendez Ensemble
  • CD Title: Secretos de la Guitarra
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Contemporaneo Art Music
  • Tracks: Concierto Para Guitarra: Caricatura portena, Vientos marinos, Milonga del camino, Secretos de la guitarra; Serra dos arars; Un dia un gato, otro tangos; Como seran los Pirineos?, Conexion Rio-Madrid; Zam-jazz
  • Musicians: Pedro Menendez (Spanish guitar, traverse flute, pianica, acoustic bass, percussion, and vocals), Daniel Serale (vibes, glockenspiel, xylophone and cymbals), Daniel Buono (double bass), Raul Di Renzo (violin), Ricardo Lanfiuti (viola), Fabio Loverso (cello), Marcelo Nisinman (bandoneon), Daniel Miguez (drums and bombo leguero), Gustavo Dominguez (percussion)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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