By Hilary Brown | Published December 2018
Issuing music both through his own label and others, bassist Juan Bayon is an exciting conduit for the fertile Argentine jazz scene. Buenos Aires has evolved a savvy collective of versatile players, and Bayon’s voracious, brow-raising Vidas Simples manifests that scene’s potential—an unexpected jazz frontier, marked by the unorthodox, groovy and impassioned.
Throughout the venture, Bayon and his cognizant cohort exchange and accentuate musical personalities, while pushing the envelope. What’s most enticing is the organic unraveling of the album’s storyline—a testament to the recording’s eponymous “simplicity” lies in its chemistry.
Opening track “Cumbia De Gambartes” and the climactic bossa-infused “Rupturas” showcase some true musicality from dual storytellers, pianist Santiago Leibson and saxophonist Lucas Goicoechea. Both teeter on the edge of an airtight pocket amid a labyrinth of textures and time changes—all anchored by microbes of a punctuated Latin influence. Look to the album’s title track, too, for a subdued sampling of classic Buenos Aires rhythms awash in percussion and vibes.
You won’t find any audacious solos in the mix, though Leibson’s intro and vibraphonist Diego Urbano’s conclusion on “Aural” unfold with passionate, painfully expressive energies. And even on his rare solo, during the cynically titled “Ego,” Bayon weaves through a frantic bass maze of turnaround and runs with certainty and technique, leading dutifully, learning simultaneously and moving on, simply.
Vidas Simples: Cumbia De Gambartes; Pausa; Aural; Rupturas; Ego; La Vida Simple; Fortaleza. (36:49)
Personnel: Juan Bayon, bass; Lucas Goicoechea, alto saxophone; Santiago Leibson, piano; Diego Urbano, vibraphone; Sergio Verdinelli, drums.