Personnel: Roger Davidson (piano); Raul Jaurena (bandoneon, unknown instrument).
Audio Mixer: Jim Clouse.
Liner Note Author: Alexandra Aron.
Recording information: Deep Siner Studios, New York, NY (2008); Park West Studios, Brooklyn, NY (2008).
Photographer: Frank Oudeman.
When jazz pianist Roger Davidson showed his 70-plus original neuvo tango compositions to Raul Jaurena, they decided to start documenting them. The initial result is this project, where 18 of those compositions have been recorded. Clearly influenced by the master Astor Piazzolla, Davidson and Jaurena pay homage to his spirit while adding much of their own personal passion. Themes of love lost and found, consummated, enriched, and expressed through dance and everyday living is punctuated by the utter richness of this music. Jaurena is a masterful wielder of the bandoneon, not to the point of extreme virtuosity, but with a complete understanding of his instrument's emotional capacity. Davidson is not just the author and architect, but a musical soulmate with Jaurena in the context of balance, harmony and shared observations translated into consistent musical endeavor. Controlled dynamics are present, but not limited in emotional or editorial content. While the two stay within parameters where Davidson's piano clearly leads Jaurena's bandoneon, they change up tempos and style with variation and regularity. "Fuerza Milonguera" has Jaurena percussively accenting the beat with a wheezing sound, they go into the moderately warmed "Su Pasion," and dig deep into the blood fever of lust during "O, Te Quiero." The storyboard plays out delicate and sweet, jazzy and happier, pondering, a bit dour, and calmed. "Optimista" is the bouncy and upbeat piece, but a darker, suspicious mood gives sway to Jaurena taking control on the soulful "Volvere," with the piano wresting control. Most like Piazzolla and dance movements, the bandoneon is again leading during "Cancion De La Montana," and a resilient flamenco style is adopted for "Milonga Del Norte." As one continues to listen, you realize a purpose in the programming of these selections, nearing conclusion with the slowed, late-night sexual "Alma Apasionada," and "Orquesta De Pueblo" which is so joyous you have to clap along to it. Realizing all good things must end, Davidson's pensive piano solos on the suggested melody of "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" during "Tango Ruso," and the up/down "Que Pasara" exclaims the temporary finality of this affair. But one more bold move on "Aventura" with a marvelous solo from Jaurena assures there's more passion in the tank for yet another glorious day. As unfair as love can at times be, it's also a shame that select tracks will be singled out, as this album deserves to be heard from start to finish, perhaps close to your significant other with a good bottle of wine under moonlight. Hope springs eternal that more of Davidson's works in this vein can be heard in the near future by this marvelous duo. They're far from merely scratching the surface. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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- Fuerza Milongnera [Digipak] (Raul Jaurena & His Tango Orches)