There has been a resurgence in the tango partly due to the championing of Argentine tango master Astor Piazzolla by Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and Brazilian guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad. Now comes the French Canadian tango quartet with an album adapting this dance form to other musical genre such as jazz, opera, Cuban music, etc. This objective notwithstanding, the result comes closer to a program of pleasant light classics. That each of the musicians is classically trained is an obvious reason for this outcome. Listen to, for example, "Gigolo Jig in G", which is a gavotte more than a tango. If the tango dress used to cover Floria's aria "E Lucevan Le Stelle" from Puccini's Tosca were displayed in public, it surely would be indecent exposure since the change in Puccini's music is barely noticeable. The Argentine tango master, Piazzolla, is recognized with his "Oblivion" peppered with percussive knocks and scratches. Other pieces come across so much like pretty waltzes or pastiches that the point of the album is lost.
The members of this quartet are fine musicians, attuned to the musical form they have chosen to specialize in. The instrument the first comes to mind with the tango, the accordion, is replaced by the rarely used bandoneon, dubbed by some as a square headed accordion. Invented in Germany in the mid-1800's, it sounds like an accordion with less resonance. If you like the tango and variations thereon, or just plain pretty music, this is a good album to add to the collection. Even as broad and accommodating as jazz has become, to classify this effort as such is a stretch. Visit the quartet's Internet home at www.quartango.com/index2.html. Everything you want to know about the tango can be found at www.todotango.com.
Personnel: Richard Hunt - Piano/Percussion; Stephane Allard - Violin/Percussion; Ren