Navarro Con Polenta
It's safe to say that starting a jazz album with a version of Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" was quite a daring deed, to say the least. In Argentina -- back in 1977.
And yet this is something a musician with the career of Jorge Navarro could afford. Navarro belongs to a generation of musicians who shaped the history of jazz music in Argentina, starting already in the mid-50s alongside other renowned jazzmen such as Lalo Schifrin, Leandro "Gato" Barbieri, "Baby" López Furst or Jorge López Ruiz.
This tightly-knit group of musicians often looked abroad and followed the dominant current in the US, going through swing and be-bop phases, but towards the end of the sixties many started to develop their own identity, a tendency that intensified in the early 70s.
In Argentina, "con polenta" is an expression used to describe something with great energy or strength -- which perfectly defines the mood for the album. As many other musicians, most notably Schifrin and Barbieri (who enjoyed a huge international success and would only sporadically return to Argentina), Navarro had just left the country and spent several years in the USA, returning to his homeland full of energy and new ideas, which translated into his debut solo album. A rocking blend of Jazz and Funk, the album unexpectedly kicks off with a groovy cover of Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" and includes equally wicked takes on compositions by Eumir Deodato, Keith Jarrett and Joe Farrell, as well as two self-penned originals and a funky number by Roberto Valencia, who's in charge of percussion in the album.