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.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein