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Quintet for New Tango Reviews


Barnes & Noble
CD: Quintet for New Tango - Write by Barnes & Noble

Astor Piazzolla's estimable piano man has taken up the mantle of tango's greatest innovator. Like his old boss, Ziegler stretches the strictures of Argentina's national dance, introducing jazzy improvisation (Joe Lovano guests on sax) and complex arrangements. Unlike Astor, Ziegler adds a drummer (Satoshi Takeishi), imparting a swinging lift to tango's weighty sensuality. The result still packs a soulful wallop, akin to Spain's New Flamenco.

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All Music Guide
CD: Quintet for New Tango - Write by Michael G. Nastos


The tango nueva has a new champion in pianist Ziegler, who is well qualified since he was with grand master Astor Piazzolla's bands in the last years of Piazzolla's life. This music is even more challenging than Piazzolla's, jazz oriented/not swinging, less dominated by the bandoneon, more piano and electric guitar lead. Ziegler's core band is Walter Castro-bandoneon, Enrique Sinesi-guitar, Horatio Hurtado-bass and Horacio Lopez-drums, they play on 10 of the 12 tracks, recorded in Buenos Aires, Two other cuts with a different band featuring tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano were waxed in NYC. Once again this is not music strictly in the tango tradition or following the path carved by Piazzolla, but entirely new, creative sounds inspired by the modern tango. The three selections that pay tribute to A.P. are the 6/8 modal, behemoth romp "Imagenes 676" the last piece recorded by Piazzolla and Ziegler and re-done here, "Primavera Portena" with its stacatto, head nodding and spontaneous half-time accents, and Ziegler's "Astor's Place," inspired by a walk with Piazzolla, actually a spy-o stealth, slinky number that speaks directly to the intimacy of their friendship. The rest are Ziegler's riveting compositions, "Conexion Portena" with cinematic dramatism in its ever shifting tempos, the similar "Ritmico y Nostalgico," jumpy and all over the place in its urgency, and a highlight "Alrededor del Choclo" an adaptation of the famous classic tango "El Choclo" or "The Corn," using a circle the wagons approach to hinting at the theme, but never actually playing it straight out. The purest tango form comes from the sad sax of Lovano during "Muchacha de Boedo" in agreement with the bandoneon of Hector del Curto, and Lovano's other feature "Once Again...Milonga" is spirited, the tenor's moves and countermoves shadowed by bandoneon and the piano of Ziegler. There's also a Chick Corea inspired dancing figure as the centerpiece of "Sandunga," for Ziegler's wife, and the scatting, darting, daunting sounds of "Desde Otros Tiempos," which starts as a steady mid-tempo, goes lugubriously slow, then frantic with passion, as most romances go.

In the liner notes, the quite informative Fernando Gonzalez (Miami Herald) calls tango a music of "winks and dares, " a perfectly concise description for what you hear on this truly remarkable and beautiful set of music. Listen to this in contrast with Guillermo Klein's "Los Guachos II" (Sunnyside) for both sides of an emerging sound of creative music born in Argentina, fueled and inspired by jazz improvisation. The results are revelatory. Highly recommended.

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52nd St. Review
CD: Quintet for New Tango - Write by J. Robert Bragonier

If the name Pablo Ziegler is new to you, not to worry; he was to me, as well. But not so in Argentina; Ziegler is a pianist and composer of considerable acclaim. Born in Buenos Aires in 1944, Ziegler studied classical piano and began playing jazz as a teenager in the early '60s. By 1978 his jazz trio, Pablo Ziegler Terceto, had become sufficiently well known that the legendary Argentine composer and bandoneón virtuoso Astor Piazzolla asked Ziegler to join his New Tango Quintet. Ziegler remained with Piazzolla for the next ten years, appearing at music festivals all over the world. Since his mentor's death in 1992, Ziegler has continued to expand the horizons of "Nuevo Tango," a fusion of classical music, jazz and traditional tango. In addition, he has collaborated with jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton, the Italian Singer Milva and other internationally known artists, and he is active in composing music for film, theatre and television. Shortly after joining Piazzollo, Ziegler began to bring improvisation to his playing, with the encouragement of the Quintet's jazz-influenced guitarist, Oscar Lopez Ruiz, the friend who had recommended him to the master.

"I wasn't too sure, but Astor would look at me, smile and tell me: 'Go ahead, go ahead,'" Ziegler recalls. "And then I started to let myself go. Then Astor started to talk to me after the rehearsals and analyze what I had done: 'This that you played here is jazz. Now this over here is tango. What you have to do is improvise in tango.' And so it went. It was a ten-year negotiation. I always say I went to the university of Nuevo Tango."

Dancing the tango, you may remember, was inextricably linked with prostitution in the early years of this century. The dance's, and the music's, "rehabilitation" has occurred fitfully, and more than a hint of the forbidden still remains. This is exciting and sensual music, music of winks and dares, designed to stir the blood, the soul, the appetites, and the imagination. Jazz of course has similar profligate roots; perhaps this is why the two genres mix so felicitously.

This is a delicious album, impeccably and elegantly performed by superbly able musicians. The blend of jazz with the tango is subtle but unmistakable, in the dazzling guitar improvisation, the syncopation, the brush on cymbal, the walking bass line, but especially the adventurous pianistic excursions. As always, I am drawn to music that crosses boundaries and brings cultures, ideas and people together. This is as tasty and tasteful an example as I can imagine. I recommend it to you with excitement, and with anticipation of your pleasure.

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Audiophile Audition
CD: Quintet for New Tango - Write by John Henry

Since the death of Astor Piazzolla seven years ago various musicians around the world in both classical and jazz fields have been absorbing and mulling over his important contribution to the tango and to music in general. The completely fresh approach he developed encourages performers to find a fresh approach to arranging and presenting both his music and music in his general style. Pablo Ziegler has a leg up on his effort since he was the spectacular pianist in Piazzolla's last quintet. Piazzolla encouraged him to improvise in his own manner, and that meant with a greater influence of both his classical and jazz training than heard in most works of Piazzolla. Ziegler brought in saxophonist Joe Lovano, for one thing. Aside from Gerry Mulligan's famous album with Piazzolla, there has been little use of saxophone in the new tango. The dance form the milonga, closely associated with the tango, is reworked in a jazz guise by Ziegler in some of the tracks. One is described by him as a "milonga a la Chick Corea." The quintet has only a single bandoneon rather than a row of them as in the Piazzolla's band, and the guitar has a strong role in the ensemble. I find this the most successful blend of modern jazz and tango I've yet heard.

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Jazz times
CD: Quintet for New Tango - Write by Josef Woodard

Alumnus and protege of the late, great Astor Piazzolla's band, pianist Pablo Ziegler has become a logical heir apparent to the "nuevo tango" legacy that Piazzolla has left behind-and which has grown exponentially in renown since his death in 1992. Ziegler's new project, Quintet for New Tango (RCA 63500; 65:20), is an impressive conceptual undertaking, a suite written with an ear for dramatic connective tissue. It features his group, including guitarist Enrique Sinesi and bandoneon player Walter Castro, and Ziegler's own pianistic voice, one colored by his classical training. Ziegler recognizes that the "nuevo tango" idiom allows for a unique merging of classical, tango tradition, and jazz influences, so it somehow makes poetic sense to also hear, from a New York state of mind, guest Joe Lovano in the mix. Lovano inserts his tenor saxophonic bravado, with the right degree of precision and emotional vulnerability.

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