Stockholm isn’t as far from Buenos Aires as one might have assumed. Faced with the daunting task of adapting Argentina’s most popular dance music to a big–band framework, the Swedes who comprise the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra perform like native–born South Americans in a persuasive session that would no doubt have brought a smile to the lips of the late great tango master Astor Piazzolla. The SJO is staunchly supported in its endeavor by three Argentinians — conductor / arranger Carlos Franzetti, trumpeter Gustavo Bergalli and bandoneon virtuoso Juan–José Mosalini. The idea for the album was Bergalli’s, and it was a good one, as was the decision to bring Franzetti on board as arranger. Whatever rhythmic problems the tango or its cousin, the milonga, may pose are easily overcome by Franzetti’s colorful charts and the ample talents of the SJO under its music director, Fredrik Norén. Besides soloing sharply on half a dozen selections, Bergalli composed three — the charming “Capicua,” bustling “Milonga Rea” and sensuous “Tango Fatal.” Mosalini solos only twice but lends an air of authenticity to every number. The album opens, appropriately enough, with Piazzolla’s undulating “Revolucionario,” and includes another tune, the placid “Chiquilin de Bachin,” that was co–authored by Piazzolla and H. Ferrer. The SJO gives each of them a splendid reading with bright solos along the way by trumpeters Norén and Peter Asplund, tenors Magnus Lindgren and Krister Andersson, trombonists Bertil Strandberg and Mikael Råberg, alto Johan Horlén, guitarist Ola Bengtsson, pianist Göran Strandberg and drummer Jukkis Uotila. As a bonus, the album is wonderfully recorded. Tango, anyone? As the Swedes would say, You betcha!
Contact:Digital Music Products, Park Square Station, P.O. Box 15835, Stamford, CT 06901. Web site, www.dmprecords.com
Track Listing: Revolucionario; Capicua; La Ultima Curda; Nostalgico; El Arrastre; Chiquilin de Bachin; Milonga Rea; Los Mareados; Tango Fatal (55:40).