Dienstag, 31. Dezember 2019

Carel Kraayenhof: 30! Passionate Tango Years

For 30 years, the Dutch bandoneonist and composer Carel Kraayenhof (*1958) has been on the road with his musicians all over the world. - Wow. He sees himself as the "heritage of musical richness" of Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese, with whom he has already collaborated.
Now Kraayenhof has recorded 20 tracks, four written by Astor Piazzolla, one song each by Oscaldo Pugliese, Pedro Laurenz and Nestor Marconi; 10 are new compositions by Kraayenhof himself, one by his pianist Juan Pablo Dobal, one by the Korean bandoneonist Sangji Koh (to which he in turn dedicates one of his pieces) and one by Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting ("Field of Gold"). The sound spectrum ranges from solo bandoneon to rich ensemble with piano, bandoneon, three strings and double bass. You don't have to lose many words about the musical quality and curiosity of the protagonist and his ensemble, as they are outstanding.
For this album, too, the ensemble succeeds in presenting the compositions with dynamic richness, melodic sensitivity and rhythmic finesse and drawing the listener into the diverse ‘sound paintings’. The compositions are airily arranged (mostly by him) and convince with clear transparency. Rhythmically, the Milonga-Candombe "Torre de luz" and the Vals criollo "Valsecito jugeton" stand out. Waltz and Milonga can be easily trivialized melodically and rhythmically – however, Kraayenhof avoids this with a light hand. His zamba "If only you where here" is really beautifully and calls for more. Also Piazzolla's "Chiquilén de Bachin" is interpreted so heartbreakingly that one wants to buy all the roses at once for the street child.
With this 63 minutes album, both the dancers and the listeners-only fraction will get their money's worth. We look forward to another 30 years with tango at a musically high level and emotional depth.
Artist´s website: www.carelkraayenhof.com

This review was published first in the German language journal TANGODANZA (2019)

Amores Tangos: Fronterabierta

I imagine Amores Tangos have taken a tour of South America and brought with them all sorts of different rhythms, and these now make up what can be heard on the album. They have invited various guest musicians who extend the sound spectrum with trumpet, trombone, tuba, saxophone, clarinet, flute, violin, electric guitar, double bass and percussion accordingly.
Seven of the recordings are by their musical director and guitarist Jose Taixido, so we can expect a breath of fresh air. After the first three pieces, a cheerful Milonga, a grooving pop song (sung by her pianist Juan Tarsia), which will inspire the salsa dancers, and a no less lively cumbia (sung by Negro Falatico with Luis Mina and Juan Tarsia), I noticed that I urgently need a high-dose depressive to counterbalance. As if the musicians had guessed it, the Tango-Evergreen “Nada”, sung by Julia Zenko, is the next track - and I am in balance again. This interpretation is wonderful, and carries me to this abandoned house of faded memories.
However, the emotional recovery phase lasts only briefly, as the ensemble plays a cheerful choro. The following Candombe “Corsos” by Patricio Quinteros lures you to the dance floor and captivates with a contrast of the vocal spectra of the guest singers (Limon Garcia, Negro Faltico and the sympathetic-crazy troupe 'Murga Baila La Chola'). “Milonga Gipsy” gives us exactly what you would expect with that title (with tuba, clarinet and violin), and it works well. Piazzolla's “Vuelvo al Sur” (sung by Negro Falatico) balances the previous pieces again, and impresses with a syncopated groove of the rhythm group. The Zamba “Sabe el Amor” with the captivating Marta Gomez is another highlight for me, which is difficult to resist. With “Tu amor de Carnaval”, the imagined musical round trip comes to an end (you can hear Hernán 'Cucuza' Castiello and the dense harmony singing of the singers of 'Murga Baila La Chola') and sets a fitting conclusion.
Is this all Tango that Amores Tango have offered? Certainly not. However, within 35 minutes they have easily skipped the border fences of our listening habits and invite us to join a wonderful journey of discovery.
Artist´s website: www.amorestangos.com
This review was published first in the German language journal TANGODANZA (2019)