Sunday, August 04, 2013

Walter Malosetti (1931-2013)

We had the sad message that the great Argentine guitarist, Walter Malosetti, passed away 29. July, 82 years old. Walter Malosetti was a pioneering figure in promoting and shaping the contemporary concept of jazzguitarplaying in Argentina, and he is probably the single most important person, who has influenced a new generation of fellow jazzguitarists in his homeland through his appearance as a performer, recording artist and teacher of his chosen instrument.Walter Malosetti's career spanned more than 60 years of professional work as a guitarist, and among his many activities through the years he also contributed to the rediscovery of Oscar Alemán in the 1970s by taking part in the recording of the Alemán '72 LP for Redondel.

Walter Malosetti was born on June 3rd, 1931 and raised in a musical environment (his father and elder brother were guitarists), he had his first guitar as a child and was soon attracted by and had a passion for the jazz he heard on the radio. Among his earliest influences were Django Reinhardt and Louis Armstrong. Since 1950 he began working in the Argentine jazz circuit as part of the most significant bands of the time, and he also led his own orchestra.In 1958 he obtained his title of Senior Lecturer of Guitar as a disciple of the classical trained guitarist Irma Constanzo and thence devoted much of his life to teaching. From 1960 and for several years, he was employed as a Professor of Music at both public and private conservatories, and in 1961 he founded his own School of Guitar and Jazz, this being the first of its kind in Argentina. Besides his work as a teacher of guitar, he continued working at the top of the Argentine jazz scene, and in 1972 he formed the group SWING 39, a string swing quintet that was inspired by Django Reinhardt and the original Quintette de Hot Club de France. The quintet recorded six LP albums from 1973 to 1981 and was composed by Malosetti on lead guitar, bassist Hector Basso, reed player Carlos Acosta and accompaying guitarists Ricardo Pellican and Marcelo Buscio.The SWING 39 ensemble was popular and had success with the public in live performance - here's an example of the kind of string swing played by the group, in this sequence from a TV program the quintet is reduced to a quartet, reed player Carlos Acosta is replaced by violinist Hector Lopez Furst, who also replaced Acosta in one of the LP recordings by SWING 39

In 1975 Malosetti wrote and published "Foundations of improvisation for guitar", the first book in a prolific collection dedicated to guitar method and practise. During the 1980s he toured European contries and led his own groups besides continueing his pedagogical work as a teacher of his instrument. In 1992, Malosetti released his first CD in his own name - 'All of Me/Todo de mi' and this was followed by six more during the 1990s and 2000s, the last one 'Escencia' released 2012. This part of Malosetti's work demonstrates a modern approach to jazz and guitarplaying, and he is quoted from mentioning Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Jim Hall as a major inspiration in his own playing,
although as a master of his instrument, he was just as much his own stylistic inventor.- Here's an example from his later career demonstrating his chops in a quartet setting

During his late career Malosetti co-operated with his son, Javier Malosetti, who is also a musician (electric bass, drums and vocal), and they both took part in each other's various projects, both as educators, performers and recording artists. Here's an example of the co-work between father and son, from a TV presentation Walter and Javier Malosetti perform 'After You've Gone'

To end this small career profile of an important figure of the Argentine jazz scene, I'll insert a video recorded at the International Jazz Festival of Buenos Aires 2008 in remembrance of this great artist - enjoy!