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Javier Girotto Trio: Tango Nuevo Revisited

review tango nuevo x1 cong


First of all what this isn’t: it’s not the kind of tango that’s evocative of svelte couples dancing in sensual fashion across a dance floor to music suggestive of a dodgy nightclub in Buenos Aries. This is more dance music as an art form.

It’s a remake of an album, Summit, by Argentinean bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla and jazz saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, 1974’s Summit. Both were leading members of the world music scene at the time. The album fused the nuevo tango of Piazzolla with the jazz of Mulligan.

However influential this was at the time, to modern ears (well, ours anyway) it does not sound like tango nuevo, “new tango”, of which we have reviewed several CDs, and which keeps dipping its (dancing) toes into the dance sound, while at the same time sounding a little dark. (As a dance, “new tango” is apparently one for young people, and techno influences are welcome).

The original featured an orchestra whereas this is pared down; a chamber jazz version of the original say the sleeve notes. This is in parts easy jazz, though the presence of the bandoneon gives it a more exotic feel than normal jazz of that ilk, and it has a darkness in places that apparently the original had. On other sections it sounds as much classical as anything.

Opener Close Your Eyes And Listen (the running order is different to Summit) is one of the more jazz-like tracks, whereas Deus Xango, despite opening with handclaps and a deep electronic bass (or maybe piano) is more classical. This is the only one we compared to the original, which is spikier and more like a dance tune; it’s also more intense. Next up is Twenty Years Ago, which is more jazzy, and heavy on bandoneon (sounds like an accordion) noodling. The title track of the original follows — it was last on the original album — and again it’s more classical in feel, the bandoneon edging it towards dance, the sax riffing over the top.

It’s a bit of a one-off, so fans of jazz, world and tango might all find something they like. Javier Girotto plays baritone saxophone, Gianni Iorio the bandoneon and Alessandro Gwis piano and electronics. Siggi Loch, who worked on the original in 1974, produces.

The cover art by is Mimmo Paladino.

Out on jazz label ACT, 9878-2.

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