“Hey, there’s this new guy around that plays like Herbie Hancock!!”. When Chilean pianist Matías Pizarro arrived in Argentina fleeing Pinochet’s dictatorship, word spread like wildfire in the local jazz scene.
In the two short years that Pizarro spent in Buenos Aires, he became one third of the Viejas Raíces project alongside local jazz heroes Jorge López Ruiz and Pocho Lapouble, recorded with famed Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and released his own solo album, Pelo de Rata (“Rat’s hair”).
Pizarro was no beginner though. Whilst in Chile he had already participated in several music projects and worked as a producer and arranger for the IRT label, and was connected to influential bands such as Los Jaivas and Blops. He had also studied in the Berklee School of Music where he not only met and lived with the cream of an emerging new wave of musicians, but he also had the chance to attend live performances of giants such as Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk.
In the recording of “Pelo de Rata” Pizarro is joined by fellow Chilean Alejandro Rivera (Sacros, Grupo Sol) on quena and charango, Swedish bassist Bo Gathu on bass, Uruguayan saxophonist Finito Bingert and an impressive percussion team featuring Pocho Lapouble, “El Zurdo” Roizner and the mighty Domingo Cura. The album draws from the US jazz fusion currents of the time (think Chick Corea and Miles Davies), adding an undeniable Latin American character, all projected through Pizarro’s own musical prism which displays his acute sense of harmony and a musical intimacy that reminds of those sincere, dreamy moments in Viejas Raíces.
The 8-page booklet that accompanies the vinyl edition will give you a deeper insight into the story of Matías Pizarro, with previously unseen pictures and liner notes by Argentinean journalist Humphrey Hinzillo (La Nación , Rolling Stone Argentina).