Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Pablo Aslan returned to Buenos Aires in September 2005 after a 25-year absence. While there, he became involved with local jazz musicians, many of whom shared his idea of melding jazz with tango. Aslan formed a band and chose tango standards that spanned several eras for this recording. He wrote the basic arrangements and then let his band have its way.
Aslan's choice profiles the diversity of the tango. While the rhythm of the music is the take-off point for a flight into jazz-induced territory, there is a very emphatic acknowledgement of the tango on "Bahi Blanca, where trumpeter Gustavo Bergalli shines. He not only brings in a strong sense of yearning, he also shows an ability to gently change the shape of the tune. Helping him along with his interludes is pianist Abel Rogantini.
Bergalli showcases another side on "El Pollo Ricardo. He starts off deep in the melodic zone, then Rogantini goes off the path and finds a companion to converse with in Aslan. Rogantini, whose melodic and lyrical run is a delight, pushes the temperate beat up-tempo. The middle section slams as Bergalli lets loose a slew of high-register notes and makes like Dizzy Gillespie. Rogantini offers contrast, calming the waters and once more finding Aslan for a quiet exchange.
On "De Puro Guapo, a milonga, Rogantini gets into the feel of the rhythm, but not before he has set the tempo with jazz harmonies. The blend is appetising as he continues to push the pulse and open up several ideas. But then Aslan changes course, getting back to the roots and drawing the listener into another experience. He develops and fleshes the structure with colourful interjections and a varied pulse. It's an entrancing tune - and along with the others, it makes for an earthy and enjoyable record." -AllAboutJazz
JazzTimes (p.89) - "BUENOS AIRES begins and ends on a lively note, and in between offers a string of delicate numbers with all the characteristic elegance and melancholy of classic tango."
Global Rhythm (Publication) (p.43) - "A subtle convergence results as the milonga and guajira roots of these familiar classics sound through in a brilliant jazz quintet setting."
Personnel: Gustavo Bergalli (trumpet); Daniel Piazzolla (drums).
Audio Mixer: Fernando Martinez.
Liner Note Authors: James Gavin; Pablo Aslan.
Recording information: Sound Rec, Buenos Aires, Argentina (06/2006).
Authors: James Gavin; Lalo Schifrin .
Photographer: Frank Oudeman.
Bassist/arranger/composer Pablo Aslan has selected eight tango standards from different eras, sketched a basic arrangement for each, and turned his band loose. The result: spontaneity and style by musicians steeped in the tango language. The sound you hear on Buenos Aires Tango Standards is not classic tango. It is what can be called the ultimate encounter between Miles Davis and Troilo, Thelonious Monk and Pugliese -- a fusion of two cultures that have been connected for a century. "La Cachila" opens the set. This song was written by Eduardo Arolas -- one of the most important composers of the early 1900s who shaped tango criollo and the effect known as the arrastre, that fundamental feature of the tango style that listeners are all familiar with. Aslan makes sure that you hear a chord progression of clear roots in the milonga and its ancestor, the guajira, within the song -- a brilliant accomplishment by any compositional standards. The bassist then graduates to Agustin Bardi's "Tinta Verde." Bardi, another pillar of the early tango repertoire, wrote a complicated piece that is not among his best-known compositions. The A section is a clever milonga riff, first in major and then in minor. Aslan's arrangement turns it into a bass and drum vamp. The B section of this three-part song is used as a release or bridge. The C section is a new fresh theme. With excellent trumpeting by Gustavo Bergalli, this song beckons the listener to become involved. "De Puro Guapo," arranged according to its milonga roots, features Daniel "Pipi" Piazzolla on drums. He reveals himself as a solid milonguero and delivers a stunning solo over a pedal point. Aslan's solo is also wonderful and exhibits a standard of playing and arranging for future generations. Overall, this entire recording is a priceless introduction to various tango standards and a must-have for the student and aficionado of the jazz and tango fusion genre. ~ Paula Edelstein