Review: Pablo Aslan Quintet - Piazzolla In Brooklyn
|Artist:||Pablo Aslan Quintet|
|Album:||Piazzolla In Brooklyn and the rebirth of Jazz Tango|
|Date of Release:||2011/11/08|
|Cat. No.:||SR 1023|
|Country of Release:||US|
|Genre/s:||1. Jazz | Contemporary
2. World | Argentinean
|Sub-Genre/s:||1. Jazz Tango
|Date of Review:||2011/11/16|
|Web Site:||http://www.pabloaslan.com, http://www.avantango.com/|
Piazzolla In Brooklyn
One of the great pioneers of jazz tango for over twenty years, bassist Pablo Aslan's and his Quintet's Piazzolla In Brooklyn and the rebirth of Jazz Tango was released on 8th November on the Soundbrush Records label. The album is a momentous, even monumental, revisiting of Astor Piazzolla's 1959 recording Take Me Dancing! The Latin Rhythms of Astor Piazola & His Quintet (note the mis-spelling of the maestro's name!), a commercial failure and, according to Piazzolla later, 'an artistic abomination.'
Piazzolla's aim with this album was dual. On the one hand, he was aiming for commercial success, in need of money at the time, and on the other, to fuse tango and jazz. Both failed. There is very little jazz content, with only few very short improvisations, where they do occur. What should have been the birth of jazz tango seemingly turned into a very difficult breech delivery with the 'baby' suffering severe oxygen deprivation in the process. Yet, somehow, there is something likeable about Take Me Dancing. Careful listening will reveal strong themes and ideas, if somewhat obscured by the percussion. Aslan describes it as 'like... undiscovered Piazzolla,' and this fits perfectly!
With Piazzolla In Brooklyn Aslan revisits and explores at great depth this previous album. It is as if the two minds meet here and interact, and Aslan re-interprets Piazzolla's intentions coherently as well as cohesively.
Recording in Buenos Aires, Pablo Aslan recruited familiar collaborators, all seasoned in both tango and jazz, for this project, choosing to replace Piazzolla's 'electric' line-up with a purely acoustic one. Gustavo Bergalli on trumpet, Nicolas Enrich on bandoneón, Abel Rogantini on piano, and Daniel 'Pipi' Piazzolla (Astor's grandson) on drums are all superb and form just about the perfect ensemble, with amazingly intuitive, empathic interaction.
Of the original twelve selections on Take Me Dancing, nine remain on Piazzolla In Brooklyn, with a later piece - La Calle 92, named after the New York City street on which Piazzolla was living at the time - added to provide the opener. Of the nine remaining tracks, two are standards, Laura and Lullaby Of Birdland. Of the other seven Piazzolla originals, the closer Triunfal, as lore has it, was the composition that he showed or played for legendary classical composition teacher Nadia Boulanger who had wanted to see 'the real Piazzolla' and finally saw him in this piece. Hence, she encouraged him to persist with his tangos. It is perhaps something of an irony that Triunfal ends up as the most hard bop-like piece on Piazzolla In Brooklyn!
Aslan seems to take over the melody on his bass less frequently than usual but certainly with no less panache and effect. Improvs there are plenty, and the standard is breathtakingly high all round with Aslan far from hogging the lime light all for himself. But the tango aspects do not go short, either. Piazzolla In Brooklyn is the most perfect marriage of tango and jazz yet, and Aslan's best album to date. Indeed, one might easily be tempted to say that Aslan's re-interpretation of Take Me Dancing could be what Piazzolla had in mind in the first place.
With an album that is so utterly consistent, it would be utter folly to even try to pick any particular favourite/s. Piazzolla In Brooklyn has a magnetic, mesmeric quality to it that will not let go, and one feels compelled to listen to this brilliant, beautiful album over and over. The tension and passion will get to you!
It is hard to think of a more fitting tribute to Piazzolla on the 90th anniversary of his birth than this marvelous rebirth of jazz tango.
The Pablo Aslan Quintet's Piazzolla In Brooklyn is an album to simply die for and an absolute must have especially for aficionados of both jazz and tango.
1. La Calle 92 (Astor Piazzolla) - 7:27
Gustavo Bergalli - trumpet
Piazzolla In Brooklyn can be purchased from:
Amazon UK (MP3)
Other online sources, better CD stores
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