Guillermo Klein – "La Ultima"

How summer tends to slip away so quickly…I’ve been writing infrequently these past few months, but I thought I’d come back and bring you some music by a composer who has completely blown me away this summer. You can probably find Guillermo Klein in the Latin Jazz section at your record store, but his music sounds is truly without genre. Having grown up in Argentia, been educated at Berklee, and now living in Barcelona, Klein draws from a diverse palette of inspiration, which gives him his unique sound. Though he often uses complex polyphony, odd meters, and irregular polyrhythmic phrases, Klein’s music should never scare you away. It’s accessible, and it often based on grooves that stay consistent within a piece. Klein also only uses improvised solo sections when they would improve a song; his music is not about making platforms for his musicians to simply show off.

“La Ultima” is from Klein’s 2005 release Una Nave. The traditional term for what’s going on in the brass on this piece is hocketing. Hocketing refers to splitting up a melodic line between multiple voices. The simplest incarnation is for two voices to sing or play together, one on the beat and the other on the off-beat. By starting with melodic lines that feature syncopation and hocketing, Klein creates a really cool texture that sounds complex without being tremendously complicated. The meter is constantly changing additionally, which gives the piece that wild feeling.


And if you’re more interested in hocketing, check out this video in which the Dirty Projectors explain it and offer an example: