Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Reissue of the original album.
Personnel: Astor Piazzolla (bandoneon); Daniel Riolobos, Nelly Vazquez (vocals); Oscar Lopez Ruiz (electric guitar); Elvino Vardaro (violin); Jaime Gosis (piano); Kicho Díaz (double bass).
Liner Note Author: Diego Fischerman.
If you can read the enclosed booklet, written in Japanese, or can translate the Spanish liner notes, you'll know the entire story behind this 1961 recording by Astor Piazzolla. What is easy to discover is that this session has the legendary bandoneon player primarily as an equal sideman in a quintet, backing up several singers, and performing tango music he, for the most part, did not compose. Much in the spirit of the somewhat mod early '60s, this date is full of popular tango style tunes that hint at the even more dramatic nuevo tango Piazzolla would progress into. Violinist Elvino Vardaro works closely with Piazzolla in a cooperative effort where either one of them could be the ostensible leader, but fit beautifully together. The pianist Jaime Gosis and bassist Kicho Díaz lend rhythmic support, as there is no drummer or percussionist. Starting with instrumentals, the band warms to the task on the violin led, drama soaked "Preparense," one of only two compositions by Piazzolla. Then vocalist Nelly Vazquez joins as an equal partner for "Bandoneon Arrabalero" before the group plays the faux waltz "Redencion." The other Piazzolla tune, "Truinfal," is a classic stroller's piece, with violin leading the bandoneon, guitar, and then the whole band. The CD contains bonus tracks -- two with singer Daniel Riolobos and four featuring the vocals of Hector De Rosas. The musicianship remains high, but the singing, not so much, as it tends to be more of a Spanish croon. Riolobos holds an elegant, staccato grandeur, while De Rosas is somewhat subdued. Rhythmically there's a limited dynamic range, even for tango, and the steady 4/4 beats rarely waver. There's an obvious deep passion and romanticism, especially on "Maria," the haunting heartbreak during "Sur," and defiance as exhibited by the bouncy piano of Gosis on "El Arranque." It's interesting to hear Piazzolla -- the interpreter -- on this set of tunes that do sound a bit dated, but are distinctly in his comfort zone. ~ Michael G. Nastos