Although Argentinean-born jazz pianist Carlos Franzetti is well-versed in both South American and Cuban styles, don't think of Mambo Tango as strictly a Latin recording. Sticking exclusively to solo piano for this session, his take of "Have You Met Miss Jones" could easily be mistaken for one of the neo-bop players who emerged during the 1980s and 1990s, with inventive improvisations against a walking irregular bassline. It is surprising that relatively few pianists have recorded Gary McFarland's moving "Gary's Waltz," a favorite of the late Bill Evans, who played and recorded it numerous times. But Franzetti's approach is less dramatic and alters the melody in a subtle, infectious way that is far removed from Evans' interpretation. He also tackles Evans' popular "Waltz for Debbie," shading it with an Erroll Garner-like bouncing rhythm for a time against his dazzling improvising in the upper keyboard. Franzetti's originals are equally of interest. His delightful "Mambo Tango" combines the two styles in a masterful performance, while "Milonga del Adios" is a bittersweet Latin ballad that deserves to have lyrics. To wrap this top-notch CD, Carlos Franzetti offers a tantalizing, deliberate setting of Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)." Highly recommended.
Mambo Tango Review
by Ken Dryden