Hot and cool from Buenos Aires to Chicago
Guillermo Gregorio’s jazz cosmopolitanism
Keywords:Guillermo Gregorio, Experimentalism, Jazz History, Cosmopolitanism, Migration
‘Dance under the stars to the music of 1924’ read the handbill—but it is not 1924, it is 1958—and Buenos Aires, Argentina is not normally considered a bastion of Chicago-style ‘hot’ jazz. Nonetheless, the little-known Hot Dogs Band, which included composer and multi-reedist Guillermo Gregorio, played their nostalgic take on this music, separated by time and geography, but drawn to a cosmopolitan aesthetic ideal. Engaging with the tropes of the ‘journeyman musician’ and more broadly the ‘jazz journey’, this essay discusses two kinds of migration—the physical movements of Argentine-American composer, saxophonist and clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio, and aspects of the aesthetic migration of jazz as it relates to mid-1950s Buenos Aires. Gregorio’s story is a compelling global journey from Buenos Aires to Vienna, Los Angeles and finally Chicago, often led by his individualized concept of the ‘cool’. By viewing Gregorio’s physical migrations as a movement towards his aesthetic ideals, we see a captivating manifestation of the transnational circulation of jazz.
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