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Torben Westergaard: Tangofied III

Geno Thackara By

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For the finale of his globe-spanning triptych (an unplanned endeavor that unexpectedly grew from the first installment's success), bassist Torben Westergaard considers himself to be making very much a return home. After the expanded cross-national lineup and largely Argentinian focus of Tangofied II (Gateway Music, 2014), he returned to his native Denmark to record only with the Tangofied Ensemble for the close of the cycle. This entry is a smooth blend with roots in both places that weaves songs around their common similarities. "I sense a kinship between the melancholia in Nordic jazz and the elegiac nostalgia of Argentinian tango music," Westergaard explains to outline the central thinking behind his approach.

Tangofied III certainly hits those wistful notes throughout, especially palpable in "Leo"'s gentle sawing strings or the dulcet wordless crooning through "Ab Ovo." Some parts do show a little lightness—"Clever Little Me" starts with a springtime feel courtesy of some bouncy angular piano, while the swaying "Kogle" is gently danceable (you can't really call it tango without some degree of sprightly movement, after all). For the most part, the subdued melancholia allows the group to draw out beautiful shades both sinuous and sensuous.

The instrumentation leans more gypsy than Viking, with viola, clarinet and swaying accordion, though the band improvises and plays off each other in a manner equally suitable to jazz and tango. According to Westergaard, "The focal point was: can I create a meaningful hybrid halfway between the two genres?" Arguably, that's not even the proper thing to listen for. When soaking in the rich tones of Tangofied III, there's no reason to consider them separate at all.

Track Listing: Clever Little Me; Leo; Ab Ovo; Bach; Aristoteles; Kogle; Hugo; Sjællands Odde.

Title: Tangofied III | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Gateway Music

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