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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Nov 10, 2011

Most jazz fans have been exposed to the rhythms and melodies of Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), the Argentine tango master who melded his native music with jazz and modern classical sounds in the second half of the 20th century.  Albums of his music have been recorded by jazz stalwarts like Gary Burton, Paquito D’Rivera and Pablo Aslan. Alsan, a masterful bass player and arranger, has recorded some fascinating interpretive projects of jazz tango music, and his latest CD may be his most interesting.

In 1959, Astor Piazzolla, then living in New York City, assembled a quintet of studio musicians and recorded Take Me Dancing!, a blatantly commercial project that even misspelled the artist’s name on the sleeve.. While a failure with the public, and, in Piazzolla’s mind, an artistic abomination, in many ways it represented the birth of jazz tango. Over the next thirty years, Piazolla would develop his “nuevo tango” and re-invent tango for the world.

Aslan assembled his favorite players to try to re-imagine the “cursed album”, and the result is enjioyable, always full of the rhythmic pulse and tunefulness that would later make Piazzolla a musical giant. I spoke with Pablo about his reasons for tackling this album, other jazz tango projects he’d like to take on, and even got a playlist for newbies looking to learn about tango music. Click here and listen to the conversation, which includes musical selections such as:

Pablos Aslan Quintet – “La Calle 92” from Piazzolla In Brooklyn and the Rebirth of Jazz Tango.  One of the many memorable numbers written by Piazzolla and the jazz tango movement, this is the only “non-cover” on the CD, having come from the later Piazolal songbook. The quintet is Pablo Aslan on bass; Gustavo Bergalli on trumpet; Nicols Enrich on bandoneon; Daniel "Pipi" Piazzolla (the great man’s grandson) on drums; and Abel Rogantini on piano.

Pablos Aslan Quintet – “Plus Ultra” from Piazzolla In Brooklyn and the Rebirth of Jazz Tango. A reworked version of one of the more propulsive tracks from the original Take Me Dancing! album by Astor Piazzolla.

Paquito D’Rivera – "Bandoneón" from Tango Jazz: Live at Jazz Lincoln Center. Recorded live in 2010, the great Cuban musician plays tribute to his musical idolsm backed by a band that includes Bergalli on trumpet; Michael Zisman on bandoneón; Rogantini on piano; Aslan on bass; and Daniel Piazzolla on drums.

Carlos Gardel – “Volver” from The Best of Carlos Gardel.  Gardel was an international sex symbol and one of the great tango originators in the first third of the 20th century. A songwriter, bandleader and raconteur, Gardel tragically died in a plane crash near the height of his powers and popularity. Even today, he is often referred to as the “King of the Tango”. The title of this classic means "to come back"; you may have heard it in Pedro Almodóvar’s award-winning film of the same title.

(Pablo Aslan, Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Samuels Piazzolaa’s pianist Pable Zeigler, and many more will present The Music of Astor Piazzolla on Fri-Sat Nov 11-12 8pm at the Rose Theater in NewYork, part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Music of the Masters” series.)