The vogue for tango music in classical circles seems to have abated a bit from its high point in the early 2000s, but this may be all to the good. Players are exploring new directions in classic tango, the Piazzolla style, the fascinating fusion style electrotango, and more. Here you have an album of tango nuevo by the Argentine pianist Pablo Ziegler and the American Christopher O'Riley, whom U.S. listeners may recognize as the host of the From the Top program on National Public Radio. The term tango nuevo has been applied to the music of Piazzolla himself, but this is nuevo tango nuevo. Ziegler was the pianist in Piazzolla's band for the last 12 years of Piazzolla's life and has recorded music that closely follows his mentor's. Here he branches out, a few times following Piazzolla's own recordings (as in Buenos Aires Hora Cero), but more often departing from his substantially. Sample the Elegia sobre Adiós Nonino, an elegantly meditative reworking of and gloss on Piazzolla's classic, for two pianos. Ziegler and O'Riley have a nice jazz-like rapport, and an account of how they came to work together would have been more useful than the canned biographies of the two artists in the booklet. The compositions by Ziegler himself, often lightly programmatic, make a nice foil for the Piazzolla works and are often lighter in nature. Steinway & Sons' sound, engineered at the Sono Luminus studios in Virginia, is superb. Recommended for tango lovers, especially those interested in the music's intersections with jazz, which was an underappreciated inspiration for Piazzolla's style.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim