Daniel Rojas


(Da Vinci)


SalTango sets the tone: a sweeping luxuriance, not just from the strings, but from the piano, itself. Part of Daniel Rojas’s magic as composer, arranger and pianist is that as well as giving his instrument its rightful place in the foreground (including with dashing improvised solos), he also loves weaving it amid the strings. Another ace up Rojas’ sleeve is his Pan-Latin American vision. As the name suggests, his own SalTango blends tango and salsa, and is a prelude to engaging with a variety of folkloric elements, all presented in a formal chamber-music context of piano with Brazil’s Baldini Quartet, joined on two pieces by Stephen Cuttriss’s bandoneon.

Rojas’s imaginative and slightly spooky arrangement of Piazzolla’s Libertango nods to Bach, while that for the Mexican Consuelo Velazquez’ Besame Mucho preserves her swooning lyricism, while widening the harmonic palette (and flirting with melodrama). Similarly the Cuban Mambo Influenciado ranges from jazz improvisation to Baroque counterpoint. We are back to Argentina for Rojas’s Navegar (with Cuttriss’ elegiac bandoneon), before forays to Peru and Brazil, all coloured by the poetic perceptions and fizzing virtuosity of an Australian-based Chilean.