Saturday, November 12, 2011

CD Review: ‘Piazzolla In Brooklyn’ by Pablo Aslan Quintet

…and the rebirth of jazz tango

Pablo Aslan

Piazzolla in Brooklyn

Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla was was an Argentine tango composer and bandoneón , a type on concertina, player.He revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. After studying with French composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. who turned his musical life around, he started introducing these elements in his ‘New Tango’s’. He returned to Argentina in 1955 and when he introduced his new approach to the tango (nuevo tango), he became a controversial figure among Argentines both musically and politically. The Argentine saying "in Argentina everything may change – except the tango" suggests some of the resistance he found in his native land. However, his music gained acceptance in Europe and North America, and his reworking of the tango was embraced by some liberal segments of Argentine society, who were pushing for political changes in parallel to his musical revolution.

In 1959 he recorded a truly bad album. Really bad. The maestro even said so himself calling it an “artistic sin”. It was recored with commercial success as it’s main endeavor and as thus, was made to appeal to American ears. An emphasis on bongos, vibes, electric guitar. It flopped. That truly bad album inspired Pablo Aslan to make this piece.

“Piazzola In Brooklyn”

“I was attracted by the idea of recreating this damned Piazzolla album, through the optic of jazz tango, something that I had spent many years developing for myself,” he says. “I felt there were many places where the music could be opened up and developed further. I began to imagine which aspects of the pieces could use a more extended formal treatment, which ideas just went by too fast and could stand further elaboration, and where the solo sections could occur. That was the Eureka moment, when I realized that the material in this record had a potential that just needed to be unleashed.”

And that he has done. This is a great success and a marvelous follow up to Aslan’s Grammy Nominated Tango Grill. For the session, he actually got Piazzolla’s grandson, Daniel ‘Pipi’ Piazzolla. The rest of the band, with the idea of needing top notch tango players, come from Argentina; Gustavo Burgalli Trumpet, Nicholas Enrich – bandoneon, Abel Rogantini – piano, and Aslan on bass.

In Aslan’s capable hands he has expanded the pieces on the original flop and done the master proud. The result is an almost hard bop feel, and what will seem to the casual jazz fan, a folk flavor. What you have is a wonderful jazz/tango album that’ll have you wanting to find someone to dance with.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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