Sonntag, 25. Juni 2017

Hijos ilegitimos de Astor: Tenatción Tango

The rich sound of the 10-person orchestra Hijos ilegitimos de Astor (Daniela Ferrati: Piano; Giampaolo Costantini and Alejandro Fasanini: Bandoneón; Francesca Giordanino: Violin; Aurelio Venanzi: Viola; Andrea Agostinelli: Cello; Riccardo Bertozzini: Guitar; Ivan Gambini: Percussion; Gianluca Ravaglia: Contrabass; and Valeria Visconti: Voice) makes the listener smile from the beginning to the end of this 14-track album. “Astor's illegitimate children” see themselves as both, a traditional and a contemporary orchestra. Bandoneonist-composer-arranger Alejandro Fasanini, composer of all songs, said that his “music tries to continue the path that Astor Piazzolla left”. In that vein the convincing starter “En primavera viste de blanco” surprises with various changes in style and atmosphere.

The third song, “Milonga para el otono”, is a beautiful piece of music, starting very sensitive with piano and double-bass. Then bandoneon and violoncello take over, and the song finds its syncopated evolution with jazzy guitar, drums and all strings – and ends with a ‘breath out’.

“Invierno inverso” is also one of these beautiful compositions which changes several times tone and mood, with a slow and reduced beginning and a seductive melody played by the violin and guitar, becoming a rhythmic milonga, and turning back and forth – difficult to resist.

Interestingly, the composer sees the four compositions “En primavera viste de blanco”, “Verano apiazzollado para Enrique Felpi”, “Milonga para el otoño” and “Invierno inverso” as his “Four Seasons”. Greetings from Baroque composer Vivaldi.

“Altalena”, “Tu recuerdo” and “La estampita de Gardel” feature Valeria Visconti as a passionate singer. Again, great dynamic compositions touching the listeners heart.

It is really fun to listen and dive in the depth of these gorgeous and multifaceted compositions, played by a versatile orchestra. Of course, there are many interesting ensembles and many great composers of contemporary tango, but to me Alejandro Fasanini is one of the outstanding and fascinating ones. He combines pure beauty in melodic development with rhythmic and harmonic trickiness; and avoids the pitfalls of compositional arrogance – the listener is in the forefront. This music is intended to be played in concert halls, but also in the small cafes in the late evening where we come to meet our pure lives. 

Sonntag, 21. Mai 2017

Los Milonguitas: Los Milonguitas

The trio "Los Milonguitas" from Buenos Aires with pianist Pablo Murgier, bandoneonist Simone Tolomeo and bass player Alessio Menegolli aims to attract the dancers to “fill the milonga dancefloor”, as it is stated.  On this album they present their tangos within three tandas (in the style of D´Arienzo, Caló and Troilo) and three cortinas with recitations by grand dame of tango, Adriana Varela. For two bonus tracks the trio invited additional musicians (two violins and one bandoneon) which enhances their sound spectrum. Although one may assume that a trio is restricted in its expression, they use their abilities as trained musicians and versatile arrangers to dynamically explore the musical richness of the 13 (+ 3) compositions of this album with their instruments.
The trio´s interpretations of songs such as the 1941 tango Mariposita by Anselmo Aieta or the 1919 tango Inspiración by Peregrino Paulos, but also own songs such as Amelia or Milonga de la Torre by pianist Pablo Murgier or Elegante Sport by bandoneonist Simone Tolomeo impress by their fresh vibe and cheerfulness. 
For me, "Los Milonguitas” convince with a clear feeling of what dancers may expect. Their music is a prerequisite for a perfect milonga under a beautiful evening sky.

Freitag, 24. März 2017

Javier Di Ciriaco: íntimo

Argentine singer-guitar player Javier Di Ciriaco (who is also singer of the Sexteto Milonguero) lives all the words he sings, and he seems to experience all these high emotions of the tango lyrics and makes the audience feel them (listen to his version of Nostalgia by Cobián & Cadicamo). Often enough this may be too much, but he carefully keeps the balance. The singer writes that many years ago, he began singing “with all his senses”, and to sense “the interconnection of body, soul, and the audience”. Intimo – and one may believe it.
The way he enthusiastically manages this wide range of 13 different songs (one is a 4-song potpourri) deserves applause. Apart from classical tangos (i.e., Gardel´s Volver or El dia que me quieras) we also hear beautiful non-tangos such as Zamba para olvidar (by Daniel Toro & Julio Fontana) or Gracias a la vida (by Violeta Parra), but also contemporary pop songs such as Maria Carey´s My all or Elton John´s Sorry seems to be the hardest word with Spanish lyrics – and it works fine. Piazzolla & Ferrer´s Oblivion surprises with an arrangement quite different from what tangophiliacs may expect. Two songs were written by Javier Di Ciriaco and these underline that he is not only an impressive interpret of other composers´ songs, but also a great songwriter (listen to the rocking final song Miradas Perdidas). 
His voice is in the forefront of the mix, the beautifully played piano by Burkhard Heßler dynamically supports his interpretations (in some songs we hear also a guitar played by Di Ciriaco). That´s all - more is not needed to convince the audience. I really like these recordings which are never ‘intrusive’: Both musicians have a very sensitive approach (despite some required pathos here and there). Not to miss his live shows is a must.

Mittwoch, 22. März 2017

Mosalini Teruggi Cuarteto: Chamuyo

The Mosalini Teruggi Cuarteto is one of the outstanding ensembles of the contemporary tango scene. Juanjo Mosalini (bandoneon), Sébastien Surel (violin), Romain Descharmes (piano) and Leonardo Teruggi (double bass) are brilliant musicians who play with a rich sense for dynamics and with all the tonal colours of a quartet. The 12 compositions on their second album are written by Juanjo Mosalini and Leonardo Teruggi - and they are definitely worth it. It is not easy-listening music to please the dancers, but multifaceted narrative songs located somewhere between tango and chamber music. Virtuosity combines with temperate sensibility to stage this ‘post nuevo style’ music. 
I prefer their ethereal pieces, such as the beautiful “Mar y Sol” and “777”, but “Nada casi”  also attracts me. Mosalini´s “Code 18” and also Teruggi´s “Era de esperar” start with a ‘strumming mandolin’ sound played by the violin, and a haunting melody dominated by the bandoneon and violin. Piano and double-bass give these compositions the necessary structure in the sense of the ensemble. Touching is also Teruggi´s “Milonga del eco” (dedicated to Astor Piazzolla), a highly atmospheric piece of music, starting slowly and thoughtfully, before unfolding to something quite fragile. 
It is wonderful to hear how the four musicians carefully listen to each other and how they uncover the ‘soul’ of these songs, to make them speak to their listeners´ heart.

Samstag, 11. Februar 2017

Orquesta Tipica Andariega: Balliamo

This is the third album from Orquesta Tipica Andariega (featuring singer Walter "El Chino" Laborde in three songs) with the rich sound of three violins, three bandoneons, double bass and piano. Compared to their 2014 album of new compositions, “Andiamo”, this time around the ensemble has chosen to play tangos of the past, but with new arrangements (mostly by their director and bass player Luigi Coviello and one by bandoneon player Adrian Argat). All of these ‘Golden Age’ tangos live through the contrast of rhythmically accentuated ‘stride ahead’ parts followed by elegiac melodies, and the straightforward arrangements, reduced to the essential, support this impression. This clearly is the beauty of these songs.

Listening to “Esta noche de luna” (composed 1943 by José Garcia and Graciano Gómez-Marcó), I like very much how arranger Luigi Coviello deals with the beautiful melody and contrasts it with the rhythmic orchestral accents with strict ‘compas’. Compare it with Francisco Canaro´s version; they principally also have these accents, but Canaro seemed to be more interested in the elegiac melodies to please the dancers. In Coviello´s arrangement the melodies have more space to shine - and the accents are more ‘aggressive’. Luigi says that for him the balance of groove and rhythm is of importance, and that means having these clear differences between the rhythm parts and the melodic legato parts in a way that the musicians can “be like an angel in the legato and a devil in the rhythmic parts”. At least the devils are quite friendly but nevertheless seductive.

Also “Te aconsejo que me olvides” (written 1926 by Pedro Maffia and Jorge Curi) is a highly accentuated song which attracts with its syncopated beat and the performance of singer "El Chino" Laborde. Nothing against the old Aníbal Troilo version with Francisco Fiorentino, which has its own charm, but the Orquesta Tipica Andariaga version is more strict in its course. Here, singer Walter Chino Laborde plays his cards to phrase the lyrics, slowing the tempi, raising the dynamics – and thus ‘wakes the heart’ of this song. Outstanding! The same is true for Biagi´s well known “Humillación” from 1941; Laborde ‘lives’ this song with such intensity that it hurts. “I hate this love! When it broke my will, it reduced me to begging for your warmth."*

Great. Clear recommendation to join their shows and listen to their music.

* Translation taken from