Gary Burton

Astor Piazzolla Reunion: A Tango Excursion

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Gary Burton has had many stellar moments over the years, and in the 1990s, one of his finest achievements was Astor Piazzolla Reunion, a heartfelt tribute to the late Argentinean tango innovator and bandoneon master. Having toured and recorded with Piazzolla in the 1980s, Burton clearly had a strong appreciation of his legacy, and that appreciation comes through in a major way on arrangements of "Tanguedia," "Romance Del Diablo," and other gems by Piazzolla (whose risk-taking approach to tango generated as much controversy in tango circles as Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane did in jazz). But as passionately as Burton expresses his love of Piazzolla's distinctive music, the vibist's own identity doesn't become buried or obscured. The CD's only major flaw is "Mi Refugio"; Burton has taken Piazzolla's 1970 solo performance of that Juan Carlos Cobian classic and overdubbed his vibes to make it sound like they're performing a duet. Even if Burton had the best of intentions, the end result is deception and cheap, crude exploitation. But otherwise, this album is outstanding.

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