Martin Moretto is recognized as one of the most active Argentine guitarists playing in New York. With Bill McHenry on tenor saxophone, Phil Markowitz on piano, Santi Debriano on bass and Vanderlei Pereira on drums, the Martin Moretto Quintet releases its self-titled debut CD. The release has eight original songs, all of which give the group plenty of room to stretch out.

“Uritorco” opens the set with an easygoing, 3/4 pace. Moretto and McHenry are out front, simultaneously playing different melodies. Markowitz’s solo is part jazz, part classical. The leads also take turns. Pereira’s cymbals accent key phrases.

“Iguazu” has a samba vibe, dictated largely by the rhythm set by Pereira and Markowitz. Moretto gives some Metheny-like phrasing during his spot in the lead, mixing in a few high-speed passes. The listener can visualize a festival on the beaches of Bahia. Deep into the song, Pereira steps out in a series of call-and-response exchanges with piano, sax and guitar, effectively playing mini drum solos between the calls.

Extended song play usually means lengthy solos or numerous solos. Although this CD has plenty of the latter, it’s more about the interaction among the five musicians. Even when one of the leads stretches out, there’s never a moment when the sense of group is lost. The set provides an hour’s worth of listening – a fine debut for Moretto.