Dienstag, 26. Juli 2022

Wolfgang Haffner: Kind of Tango

An established jazz musician with impressive musical references goes on a musical journey of discovery with jazz musicians from his ensemble. Within his "Kind of..." series, Wolfgang Haffner has now arrived at tango. The drummer and composer and his "trusted" collaborators Lars Danielsson (bass and cello) from Sweden and Christopher Dell (vibraphone) from Darmstadt, but also other musicians like Simon Oslender (piano) and Ulf Wakenius (guitar) have written 8 new pieces, which are somehow some “kind of tango". They play with the basic elements and create something new - interpreted as jazz pieces whose melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structures leave plenty of room for wonderful improvisational excursions. Rodríguez's classic "La Cumparsita" is not recognizable at first glance, and Piazzolla's "Libertango" is also different than expected (it turned out to be too "loungy" for me). Two other pieces by Piazzolla ("Close your Eyes and Listen" and "Chiquilín de Bachín") fit well into the musicians' excursions, because 70 years ago Piazzolla dared to go in the opposite direction into jazz.

Is that jazz or is it a bit of tango? - Hard to say. The boundaries are clearly blurred. Both are there and intertwined. It is a pleasure to accompany the voyage of discovery. There are wonderful new pieces one can enjoy listening spellbound as the musicians interpret the motifs further. Great guest musicians such as Bill Evans (no, not the jazz veteran, but the saxophonist), Vincent Peirani (accordion), Lars Nilsson (flugelhorn) and Sebastian Studnitzly (trumpet) calmly set their outstanding accents, so that there is no tonal boredom (as one may feeling while listening to some other tango ensembles). It can be assumed that the musicians really don't care whether the 'locos del tango' let themselves be lured onto the dance floor or whether they stand on the edge with their arms crossed. It would be quite sad for the dancers to remain stubborn, as they would miss wonderful songs like "Respiro", "Tango Magnifique", "Tres Hermanos" and "Recuerdos" (featuring Peirani's accordion and Danielsson's double bass solo) or the deeply sad but wonderful " Chiquilin de Bachín”. – Jazz can be exciting too!

Artist´s website: https://wolfganghaffner.de/

Andrés Linetzky´s Vale Tango: My Choice

To get straight to the point: I admire Andrés Linetzkys as a pianist, composer and arranger. His work as musical director of the ensemble around Ariel Ardit have made me listen, with which love for the simple and unexcited he arranges old and new tangos and lets them breathe again.

On this current selection, looking back over several decades, he presents 20 live recordings from different stages in his life as a musician: 14 pieces with his sextet Tango Vale (five of them with the singer Lidia Borsa), four with the quintet Tangata Rea and two with the trio The Linetzky Family, where the Klezmer background comes into play. His rich performance experience can be seen in these songs: wonderfully nostalgic arrangements that are still not outdated ‘dusty`, and invite the dancers onto the dance floor of a ballroom. His composition “Supermilonga” with its wonderful chorus would also delight samba fans. Those who don't come out on the dance floor (or at least tap their feet "inwardly") don't feel anything anymore. One of the few other´s compositions is “La cautiva” by Carlos Vincente Geroni Flores, which has been around for a century, but is still wonderfully effective. The moving “Entonces”, composed to a text by María Elena Walsh, is an emotional high-altitude flight that also knows depth. The dreamy “Las huellas en el mar” evaporates far too easily. Linetzky's piano intro in “Todas las mananas con mis reinas” is wonderfully ‘easily’ and leaves room for the strings and bandoneons of his ensemble to unfold their melodic arcs - as a wonderfully interacting ensemble, they enchant the audience. Yet, there is also: “Chaly”, which is dedicated to the bandoneonist Carlos Corrales, initially comes across as impulsive and dynamic and makes the dancers sweat, lets them breathe deeply in between with a more subdued Piazzollaesque mood and then drives them back on. This is the full life in all its dynamics, pushed to 4:04 minutes.

For me, some recordings could have remained in the gracious darkness of the past: “Belz” is rather problematic at the beginning in terms of intonation. The same applies to “El amanecar” from the 1997 album “Tango Vivo! - Noches De Buenos Aires”. - Still, that doesn't spoil the pleasure of listening to a wonderful musician who has clearly shown that tango orchestras have their special magic and are ‘relevant to hope’.