Saturday, June 15, 2013

In review--Piazzolla Resurrected

Hector Del Curto 
Eternal Piazzolla
Green Parrot Records

Since the moment a music librarian in Seattle introduced me to the tangos of bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla, I have admired and loved this music.  I have delved into several of Piazzolla’s recordings with his quintet and other ensembles, and I have heard tribute recordings from other musicians, both inside and outside of Argentina.  Similar to Franz Liszt and the American blues legend Robert Johnson, we wonder if Piazzolla also sold his soul to the devil in exchange for mastership of his instrument and genre.  Of course, I don’t mean this literally and I’m referring to the bursts of passion found in Piazzolla’s compositions.

When I saw a listing for Argentine Hector Del Curto’s Eternal Piazzolla I decided to review the recording.  As usual, I was concerned at first about the musicians’ interpretation of Piazzolla’s repertoire, but in this case, there was no need for concern.  I actually feel like I’m listening to Piazzolla himself or that his spirit hovers above me as I listen to this recording.  You want passion and twists and turns that could break the ankle of a dancer (oh, we live so dangerously)?  Well, those flames and madness show up in the 13 tracks, some obscure Piazzolla compositions and one original, Astor Place penned by pianist Pablo Zeigler who had performed with the master bandoneonist in the past and makes a cameo appearance on this recording.

Bandleader and bandoneonist Hector Del Curto also performed with Piazzolla along with some other Latin music superstars such as Osvaldo Pugliese (tango), Paquito D’ Rivera (reed player), and with symphonies and chamber orchestras.  He’s clearly on top of his game on this recording, channeling the essence of Piazzolla.  He’s loyal to Piazzolla too and the only musical liberty he takes is to exchange guitar for his wife, Jisoo Ok’s cello and with fabulous results.  Yes, the strings appear strong and weeping, the piano bombastic and the bandoneon simply explosive with musical ideas.

I only recognize a few of the tracks here, such as Michelangelo 70, Piazzolla’s 4 Seasons (Winter and Spring), Fugata, and the weepy chestnut Adiós Nonino (next in popularity to Libertango) which Piazzolla wrote for his father upon his death.  The composition of course seems doubly sad now that Piazzolla had also crossed over to the other side (he died).  Since I can’t imagine any Piazzolla fan or patron of Latin music not enjoying this recording, it comes with high recommendations.  Meaning, buy this one and listen to it often.

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