All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Hakon Skogstad: Two Hands To Tango

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Frank Zappa, guitarist/composer/provocateur, once called the tango the dance of unbridled passion. This from the stage in his introduction to a tango music performance. It was one tune in a madcap Mothers of Invention concert. He had something there. In its beginnings—in the late nineteenth century—the dance and the music that accompanied the tango steamed up in the border region between Argentina and Uruguay, basking in the glow of the red lights in the river ports. BeginnIng in the late 1930s, bandoneonist/composer/arranger Astor Piazzolla began an eventually successful quest to bring the music out of the alleyways and into the concert halls. Tango orchestras flourished, and the tango became respectable, elegant even, in its way. The steamy passion remained.

So how does the music associated mostly with the bandoneon and refined orchestral treatments translate to solo piano? Two Hands To Tango, from Norwegian pianist Hakon Skogstad, says it does so very well.

Skogstad, a performer of tango and an arranger/composer of music for the bandoneon, decided to adapt those skills to create solo-piano tango sounds, moving in a free flow between bass, chords and melodic structure—as opposed to the "everything at once" mode an orchestra allows. Classically trained, with technique to spare, Skogstad succeeds mightily in the effort. The piano is, of course, an orchestra in and of itself. He renders this set of eight tango tunes, along with two of his own compositions, with elegance and passion, tenderness and yearning, mixing the cerebral and the earthy, with intensity and grace. By turns muscular and percussive, delicate and restrained, with a smoldering tension always lurking in the background.

Opening with the classic "Los Mareados," Skostad's piano work is stately and measured, flowing into ardent longing. "Sentimiento Tanguero" conjures images of tango dancers, men in dark suits, their hair slicked back, wearing expressions of intense determination; the women dolled up into the next dimension, with their slit skirts and stiletto heels, hair sculpted to perfection, bright makeup glowing just this side of garish, moving their bodies with lubricious slinkiness, while maintaining expressions of dead seriousness. Separating tango, the dance, from the tango, the music, is impossible.

Skogstad closes the disc with an his original composition, "Tristezas De Un Doble S," an homage to Astor Piazzolla. Skogstad paints a sad picture on this—the longest (at ten plus minutes) and most beautiful tune of the disc. It's a sound with a dark majesty and tango-esque earnestness that gathers momentum that peaks, then slips back into deep introspection. A gorgeous wrap up to the set.

Track Listing: Los Mareados; Sentimiento Tanguero; Tango Del Angel; Milonga Impromptu; Felicia; Sur; Norte; El Marne; Canero En Paris; Tristeza De Un Doble S.

Personnel: Hakon Skogstad: piano.

Title: Two Hands To Tango | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Avantango Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Pendulum CD/LP/Track Review
Pendulum
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Flow Vertical CD/LP/Track Review
Flow Vertical
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Christian McBride's New Jawn CD/LP/Track Review
Christian McBride's New Jawn
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 21, 2018
Read The Sky Above Her CD/LP/Track Review
The Sky Above Her
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica" CD/LP/Track Review Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "Dreams And Other Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read "Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You." CD/LP/Track Review Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One...
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 16, 2018
Read "Emanon" CD/LP/Track Review Emanon
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 28, 2018
Read "64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e" CD/LP/Track Review 64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Opus" CD/LP/Track Review Opus
by Doug Collette
Published: March 29, 2018