Tango Argentino: Zum Play Astor Piazzola

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ZUM have plowed through all sorts of Gypsy music over the years, finding their way into any number of genres. With Piazzolla's tango, however, they seem to have found their sweet spot. The compositions, perfect examples of nuevo tango, hold up mightily. More importantly for an album devoted to the master, though, ZUM treat the compositions like treasures -- they do their best to hold up the mastery demanded of the off-kilter portions, but refrain from enhancing the sound with their own ideas too greatly. Accordion player Eddie Hession proves to be an able mimicker of Piazzolla's bandoneon, and violinist Adam Summerhayes makes his instrument screech, wail, and croon in the overtly emotional ways Piazzolla's compositions are so fond of. They can aim for the ultradramatic with "Diminished Tango"'s chord progressions and stomping beats; they can swim melodically in lighter fare in the realm of "Oblivion." It's a surprisingly good album from a band that isn't focused specifically on tango or on Piazzolla. Pick up the Piazzolla originals first (and maybe the Gidon Kremer renditions), but ZUM have done a masterful job with his work.

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