Astor Piazzolla

The Rough Guide to Astor Piazzolla

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Astor Piazzolla was one of the greatest musicians to emerge from Argentina, one who took the tango and made it into an art form that stretched between jazz, classical, and even rock, while never losing sight of its soul in the bars of Buenos Aires. This excellent collection covers those facets very adequately, from the cool jazz meets tango mood of "20 Years Ago" with saxophonist Gerry Mulligan through "Libertango" (probably best known in its Grace Jones version) to the sweeping three "Tanguedia" tracks. Piazzolla dives into modern classical with "Bandoneon," showing the possibilities of his chosen instrument and fertile imagination. It's a testament to his genius that everything here is of the highest quality, even the live recordings, such as the aching, lyrical "Milonga del Angel" and the brief but lovely solo "Los Sueños." The CD ends, appropriately, with Piazzolla's most famous composition, "Adios Nonino," written after his father's death. This is a sterling introduction to the man's work and a brief guide through his staggering range. Above all, it makes you want to go out and hear more of him.

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