Friday, June 13, 2008

598. Astor Piazzolla and Gary Burton - The New Tango (1987)

Track Listing

1. Milonga Is Coming
2. Vibraphonissimo
3. Little Italy 1930
4. Nuevo Tango
5. Laura's Dream
6. Operation Tango
7. Muerta del Angel


About 10 years ago I was talking to my wife to be (we were just friends then) online, and I told her I was listening to some tango. She laughed and said that that was something I'd never get her in to. So I sent her an mp3 of Libertango, one of Piazzolla's most famous tracks. She was convinced.

Many things 10 years later start sounding worse and worse, and there is a lot I liked then that I don't now, or that I am at least indifferent to. Piazzolla is not one of them, even with the overuse of his music by bands like Gotan Project and their ubiquitous presence everywhere for the past few years, Piazzolla "unplugged" has never diminished in my view.

Part of the reason for this is the fact that he died (in 1992 but he had been severely debilitated since 1990) at the height of his powers as a musician and composer. He is also tellingly the only artist which is both on this list and on the Classical Recordings list, this is a tribute to how undefinable his music is. It is based on a folk tradition of Tango in Argentina, but it is very much not danceable, it has mass popular appeal but it is also very complex in compositional terms. It is beautiful and strange and pervaded with a deep longing feeling. It is the music that always reminds me of Lisbon, because of that sad longing of not being there and it works when I am there with the wide sea and the white houses, taking a train with the headphones on. It can also be energetic and exciting but it is always amazing.

This live recording is a particularly good one because to the bandoneon of Piazzolla and the strings of his band you add the vibraphone of Burton, and that is another of my favourite instruments, the deep resounding sound of the vibraphone complements this New Tango perfectly. If you don't know Piazzolla there is no time like the present to start doing so.

Track Highlights

1. Milonga Is Coming
2. Vibraphonissimo
3. Laura's Dream
4. Nuevo Tango

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

He began to play the bandoneon after his father, nostalgic for his homeland, spotted one in a New York pawn shop. At the age of 13, he met Carlos Gardel, another great figure of tango, who invited the young prodigy to join him on his current tour. Much to his dismay, Piazzolla's father deemed that he was too young to go along. Nevertheless he played a young paper boy in Gardel’s movie El día que me quieras. This early disappointment proved a blessing in disguise, as it was on this tour that Gardel and his entire band perished in a plane crash. In later years, Piazzolla made light of this near miss, joking that had his father not been so careful, he wouldn't be playing the bandoneon — he'd be playing the harp.

Muerte Del Angel from the Concert that this album is taken from:

No comments: