The attractive sound that the artist proposes seems to settle in a synthesis between her experience in the most important jazz clubs in New York (as a soloist or as a guest of Guillermo Klein and Emilio Solla, among others) and her frequent trips to Argentina (to concerts with the National Symphony, a tribute to Astor Piazzolla at the Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival and opening the presentation of Snarky Puppy at the Colón theater).
In the 14 stations of “Ontology”, Roxana composed alone the piece that gives title to the plate, “Milonga by absence”, “Goodbye, Rose St.” and “Winter”, and created another four with the pianist Martín Bejarano (“Chacarera para la mano Izquierda”, “Last Happy Hour”, “El Regio” and “Amor”), in addition to covering “Danza de la moza donosa” and “Dance of the old cowboy” (both by Alberto Ginastera) y “Blue In Green (Sky And Sea)” (de Bill Evans y Cassandra Wilson).
– What are the characteristics of the pairing between local and jazz that you propose in “Ontology”?
—On the one hand it implies an analysis of the music in particular, its rhythm, the structure of its melodies. Not in all songs can the two traditions coexist. That was a delicate job as a producer that I was doing over time. And then the poetic discourse is another challenge. Writing lyrics in both languages was fundamental to my verbal universe, it was always like that on almost all my albums. But each language involves different vocal productions, and I have also always wanted to work with the musical sound that works for both languages. Much to produce, the work is very delicate and exciting at the same time.
—What is the meaning of “Ontology” in your discography?
—I think it’s the deepest, the one that has a lot of me, because it was built slowly with a lot of thinking and feeling, and not only because of my specific presence as a singer or songwriter, but as a producer or curator of myself. It is also due to the impeccable collaboration of my colleagues, who said what I cannot say.
What other challenges did the album pose?
—I think the most difficult thing was to find myself or rebuild after the move. I traveled almost 30 times to Argentina in these years to do concerts and give clinics. That required all my physical and mental energy, my patience with life and the love for the music I was making so as not to lose inspiration and memory. Meanwhile I did a master’s degree, I got a job in two faculties, I went out to play in the few places available, I traveled many times to New York to collaborate with my musician friends, who, like those from Miami, saved my life. They and Dany, my great husband.
—How and why does Alberto Ginastera appear in the selection of songs for the album?
—Martín Bejerano, a tremendous pianist and a great companion on this trip, played that suite of Ginastera, like many pianists in the world. We thought it was great to take it to the language of improvisation, to scat in the case of “Viejo Boyero” and to add lyrics to the “Dance of the donosa girl”.
—When reviewing the payroll, “Blue In Green” is also striking. What is the reason for the inclusion of that topic?
—In addition to being one of the most beautiful songs in the North American jazz repertoire in my opinion, Cassandra Wilson’s lyrics described exactly where I was in these years: “Sailing until I found the light of a port, our home”. Kendall Moore’s arrangement ended up giving the song what it needed to include it.
– Do you feel that the album can build new bridges with Argentine music on the American scene?
“I would love it to be so.” We are many Argentine musicians taking our roots abroad. But this is not world music, or folklore, or traditional tangos, so it may be that this filtered by my identity just makes it more open. In my concerts in the United States we always make Argentine music and original music, and it has been a surprise for many to know the repertoire of authors such as “Cuchi” Leguizamón.
—What is the most interesting thing about Argentine music there?
—It depends on the communities. The New York public is always interested in everything. It is an audience trained for the new and the mixes are appreciated as an evolution of traditions. Miami is more conservative. Latin music there is mainly Caribbean. There is some Argentine tango, but with more touristic purposes, not necessarily as a pole of investigation or transgression.
– What did the work performed for the interpretation consist of?
—On the one hand, the challenge of singing in English and Spanish involves building a sound so that, even with the changes in placement of each language (even of each region, since our Castilian in Argentina is different in placement and timbre than that of Cuba, for example) there is fluidity from one song to another. For me, the coexistence of the mixes was always in my sound. I don’t think there is a real fusion if the harmonies and ensembles are renewed and the singer sings with traditional or lyrical sound, or with spontaneity without training. That is my goal, to always improve in that aspect.