Jazz Tangowinner of the 2018 Grammy for "Best Latin Jazz Album"is a distillation of pianist Pablo Ziegler's vision. Leading a trio of American-based Argentinians, Ziegler delivers a program that perfectly encapsulates the titular hybridized form that he knows so well.
This exhilarating outing opens on Nuevo Tango patriarch Astor Piazzolla's "Michelangelo 70," a number simultaneously referencing a famed Buenos Aires tango club and the composer's year of departure for Europe. With some chromatic zest and loads of virtuosic appeal, it proves to be the perfect introduction to the combined forces of Ziegler, bandoneon master Hector Del Curto, and guitarist Claudio Ragazzi. From there, Ziegler introduces his own workthe machinating "La Fundicion," a plaintive "Milongo Del Adios," the wonderfully frenetic "Buenos Aires Report," and a breezy yet noirish "Blues Porteno." Taken together, those numbers paint him both as a Piazzolla acolyte and an original.
The second half of the album is bookended by Piazzolla worksthe Bach-indebted "Fuga Y Misterio" (from tango operetta Maria de Buenos Aires) at the front end and the immortal "Libertango" at the backbut the compositions at the core belong to the man at the helm of this project. Ziegler's "Elegante Canyenguito" points toward chic throwback dance-floor allure, this trio playfully bounds about on his milonga-mining "La Rayuela," and these men paint a pensive portrait of a woman traversing the tango-rich Boeda neighborhood on "Muchacha De Boeda." After experiencing the programmatically-aligned works of two masters hereone completely present and one no longer with usthe truth stands illuminated. Pablo Ziegler doesn't merely carry the torch passed to him by Astor Piazzolla; he adds his own breadth of flame to it as well.
Michelangelo 70; La Fundicion; Milonga Del Adios; Buenos Aires Report; Blues Porteno; Fuga Y Misterio; Elegante Canyenguito; La Rayuela; Muchacha De Boedo; Libertango.
Pablo Ziegler: piano; Hector Del Curto: bandoneon; Claudio Ragazzi: guitar.