The pioneering work of the Argentinian treasure Astor Pizzazolla is far from new. Like other sub genres in the jazz family tree, New Tango has been tweaked and reinvented by some artists but with results that were stiff and slightly one dimensional.
The latest release from Pablo Ziegler & The Metropole Orkest is perhaps the corner stone for the natural evolution of one of the most beautiful and misunderstood forms of music the world has ever known. Ziegler was the pianist in the last quintet which Piazzolla led for more than a decade. Pablo Ziegler is traveling off the beaten path that Piazzolla blazed many years ago. Instead we find Ziegler focusing on Buenos Aires urban music whose focal point is pure tango but with the more traditional form and function of the improvised music in North America commonly referred to as jazz. With Amsterdam Meets New Tango the music is pushed even further by adding the texture and deceptively subtle simplicity of the Metropole Orkest and with dazzling results.
The ebb and flow here is consistent in the obvious inconsistencies which include extremes of sensual rhythms and dark mysterious lyrical intensities of harmonic flavor that mirror the Argentinian landscape today. Two of the most engaging compositions are "Milonga para Hermeto" composed by Quique Sinesi and dedicated to arguably the finest Brazilian composer in Hermeto Pascoal. The harmonic base plays well against the natural tango rhythms and forward thinking melodic development. The second composition that stands out is "Blues Porteno." Think of it as an unplugged blues riff on Nuevo Tango. Ziegler and his prowess behind the piano are equally matched with his compositional excellence and gift for transforming the expected rhythmic pulse into an abstraction that creates an intriguing dynamic tension as is the case with "Desperate Dance."
Buenos Aires is a hot bed of social and political activity and Ziegler has managed to capture the trials and tribulations of everyday life in this beautiful country and transform the despair that has plagued Argentina at times into a genuinely gripping release that should hit that musical sweet spot that Latin jazz aficionados are all too familiar with.
An inspiring release proving that the brilliance of New Tango did not die with Astor Piazzolla but instead has been reinvented under the skillful hands of the great Pablo Ziegler.
Tracks: Buenos Aires Report; Milonga Para Hermeto; Blues Porteno; Desperate Dance; Murga Del Amanecer; Places; Pajaro Angel; Buenos Aires Dark; Que Lo Pario.
Personnel: Pablo Ziegler: piano; Quique Sinesi: guitar; Walter Castro: bandoneon; Quintino Cinalli: percussion, cajon; Metropole Orkest under the direction of Jules Buckley.