Astor Piazzolla: A Memoir
Translated, annotated, and expanded by Fernando González
Amadeus Press, 2001
Fernando González, Jazziz's current editor, translated and fortified Natalio Gorin's documentation of a musician's memoirs described as a God on stage and a son of a bitch off it. The account is unavoidable reading in order to be fully aware of the life and times, as well as the music, of Astor Piazzolla.
Most documentation in Astor Piazzolla A Memoir bear the maestro's will and forceful expression. He and Gorin engaged in a series of prearranged conversations that the latter edited for publication, mostly under Piazzolla's supervision, albeit completed after his death. Most of the text retains an informal air and a conversational flow that leads to inevitable albeit slight repetitions. The glimpses and outright glows into Piazzolla and his music are unrivaled nonetheless.
Thankfully, Piazzolla was not one to mince words and, through this publication, one gets a somewhat unfiltered opportunity to learn about many aspects of his personal and professional life. On the personal front, for example, his romantic life isn't ...and couldn't be... off limits as it is of importance, e.g., when evaluating the Piazzolla-Ferrer works for singer MarÃ-a Amelia Baltar. Piazzolla's early New York days, lived during particularly urban violent circumstances, lead him to say that were he not a musician he would've been a Mafiosi. Fortunately for us music lovers, today, the bandeonist isn't associated with capos or The Sopranos.
The book also includes some of Piazzolla's thoughts on his favorite musicians and why they were so. Gorin also includes a list of singers and musicians associated with the tango master ...with brief comments on their respective importance... as well as a thorough discography ...with very brief comments... updated through the year 2000 and a chronology. The book's strength, however, doesn't lie in deep analytical thought concerning his music. That awaits further treatment beyond that provided by other bibliographical material readily available in the market.
This memoir abounds with details about Piazzolla's likes and dislikes in music ...jazz or otherwise. There are plenty of opportunities for him to address his critics ...and he had and has many. Gorin didn't waste the privilege of talking with Piazzolla and the master didn't waste the chance of setting many records straight before dying. Piazzolla lives through his music and this work. Meet him if you haven't done so already. If you have, get to know the man behind the music.