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In Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the early 60s, a group of musicians founded collective called “Agrupación Nuevo Jazz” (New Jazz Collective). Some of the great names of Argentine jazz were part of that experience: Leandro “Gato” Barbieri and his brother Ruben Barbieri, Alfredo Wulff, Rodolfo Alchourron, Santiago Giacobbe, Eduardo “Bicho” Casalla, Jorge Navarro, Chico Novarro and Jorge “Negro” González. It wasn´t actually a stable music band; it was rather a space for reflection and rehearsal to determine the paths that jazz should take. Some of the proposals debated by the collective included experimentation with Argentine folk genres –zamba, chacarera, malambo, cueca, candombe– in a jazz key, and the exploration of African rythms and influences in those folk genres, as a bridge between both musical worlds.

The story of Quinteplus is a rather natural derivation of that reflection, as two of their members –Giacobbe and González– were part of the collective. Quinteplus was formed in 1969: all of its members knew each other and had previously played together in different bands. The group shared two common motives: their admiration for Julian “Cannonball” Adderley´s quintet, and their interest in working on local Argentine rhythms with a jazz-based language. In the folk music field, group members recognized the influence of the music made by Atahualpa Yupanqui and the Hermanos Abalos. This starting point already offers some elements that could explain Quinteplus´ music and fate. In fact, if any feature characterizes the group, it is its great openness to the exploration, with a jazz language, of other musical genres, with a certain preponderance of rhythm. Its members are part of a jazz generation with a greater propensity to experiment with electricity and with what could be considered an avant la page exercise of what soon afterwards would be called jazz rock –it is music composed and played, in the faraway Buenos Aires, at the same time Miles Davis adventured into new fields, with such records as In a Silent Way or Bitches´ Brew.

Quinteplus disbanded in late 1973, upon the relative lack of understanding suffered by their musical style –way too iconoclast and adventurous for the canons of their time. Some of its members developed brilliant careers overseas –Jorge Anders in the U.S.; Gustavo Bergalli in Sweden; Santiago Giacobbe in Spain.

Christian Courtis

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