Ablanedo's training in his native Argentina included combined jazz, classical and Argentinian folk styles. He came to the US in 1993 to study at Berklee, where he graduated from the Jazz Composition program in 1996, with the John Dankworth Award in Jazz Composition among his honors.
He has remained in the Boston area, teaching, studying and performing largely in the Boston and New York areas. The Octet is regularly featured on the stages of the Knitting Factory and the C Note. This recording should help extend the group's reach to a broader audience, which they certainly deserve.
There's a discernible Latin American flavor to much of the music here, but it's not the tango rhythm that's most commonly heard in Argentinian music. Ablanedo draws on folk forms, such as chacarera and zamba, which are less commonly heard, but which are highly adaptable to his blending of influences ranging from Igor Stravinsky to Bill Evans. Composing for the Octet gives him access to a wider range of voices than most jazz composers utilize today, and he uses them to brilliant effect both individually and in a variety of innovative combinations. Ablanedo composed all the material here except Billy Strayhorn's "U.M.M.G.," which receives an original arrangement built around an Anat Cohen saxophone solo.
Too inside to be labeled truly avant garde, but invariably original nonetheless, From Down There introduces both one of our most inventive young jazz composers and one of the most innovative contemporary ensembles. It's music you need to know.