To the untrained ear, it sounds like an accordion. And to be fair, there are similarities. However, the bandoneon is its own instrument, and it is part of what makes Tango Duo's Pasion Por La Vida an interesting and unique album.
Pianist Roger Davidson and Latin Grammy Award-winner/bandoneonist Raul Jaurena come together for a solid collection of original tango music. Davidson has recorded two previous tango albums, but this is his first with all-new music. Jaurena has worked closely with Davidson for 15 years and is one of the world's most prolific bandoneon players.
"Fuerza Milonguera" sets the mood for dancing right off. Starting in a march, it quickly becomes more of a strut. Jaurena moves seamlessly from accompanist to half of a duet, shifting back and forth from sharing the lead to complementing the piano. Each takes turns as soloist while the other maintains the rhythm.
"Camino al Sol" begins with a leisurely piano introduction. Then Jaurena brings in a bouncy lead before fading into the background while Davidson comes to the fore. As with many of the songs, this selection plays as though the musicians were tangoing with each other while providing music for others to dance to. Near the end, the music calms and slows to a near stop before Jaurena brings back the melody, setting up a triumphant finish.
"Todo el Tiempo" begins in a melancholy mood but that changes quickly as the tempo picks up. At times, the melody is reminiscent of a love story theme. Davidson and Jaurena increase the passion as this song builds to its climax.
The tango is a couple's dance, so it's fitting that this 18-song set is performed by a duet. The piano and bandoneon dance with each other throughout, each taking turns as leads.
Track Listing: Fuerza Milonguera; Su Pasion; O, Te Quiero; Camino al Sol; Tarde Soleada; Puenta a la Esperanza; Vals Para Manana; Optimista; Todo el Tiempo; Volvere; Cancion de la Montana; Milonga del Norte; Alma Apasionada; Orquesta de Pueblo; Tango Ruso; Si Loin de Toi; Qua Pasara; Aventura.
Personnel: Roger Davidson: piano; Raul Jaurena: bandoneon.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.