The exotic and romantic combination of tango and traditional jazz is distinctively expressed on Buenos Aires bassist Pablo Aslan's new recording. With energetic tension, the music on Avantango is performed with a style that is quite refreshing. An ardent musician and composer Aslan is at the pinnacle of his field and has earned accolades from performances on Broadway's 'Tango Argentina' and similar musical ventures with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and singer Julio Iglesias. The Avantango live experience includes musicians as well as dancers, poets, and singers who are dedicated to interpreting the art form.
Aslan's sextet consists of top Argentinean musicians in the New York area, with instruments including violin, bass, trumpet, saxophone, piano, and the accordion-like bandoneon . The percussive and rhythmic flair of the music more than compensates for the absence of a drum section. Aslan is an accomplished bassist who delivers powerful notes as well as impressive bow string skill. His sextet is in fine form, keeping the music authentic yet fresh. The jazz influence is acknowledged with subtle swing, tight horn arrangements interspersed with solo spotlights.
Odd tempos and staccato lines are in abundance throughout the recording, as one would expect with tango music. The music features highly orchestrated pieces such as 'Beto' and 'Sabateando,' with heavy instrument interplay, to more simple and melodic lines of 'El Chanter.' The outstanding offerings of violin and bandoneon gives the music a timeless aura and on the uplifting 'Esualo' and 'Verano Perteno.' Tango vocalist Roxana Fontan adds a warmth and richness on the beautiful 'Velvo Al Sur,' which showcases her lovely voice accompanied by some fine ensemble work; and 'Malena,' which features her in a stirring duet with Aslan's deep bass. With detailed musicianship that is diverse, challenging, and captivating, Avantango faithfully harnesses the spirit of the tango.