The taproots of tango have been traced back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when colonialism, emigration, war and revolutions created unprecedented cultural cross-pollination as musical elements from France, Spain, Africa, Haiti and Cuba -- most notably flamenco and the contradanza habanera -- began to mingle and morph like never before. While the habanera blossomed in New Orleans and moved north, manifesting itself at the heart of such primal jazz structures as W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" and Jelly Roll Morton's "The Crave," the tango flourished in Buenos Aires, there to achieve international notoriety as an urban dance craze. This sanguine music and its at times provocative choreography became enormously popular in Europe during the late '20s and throughout the '30s. Living Era's excellent Vintage Tango Tonight sampler provides examples recorded between 1930 and 1950 in Buenos Aires, Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Milan, Amsterdam and London. Anyone specifically interested in the German aspect of this genre will enjoy the eight examples included in this package and should also investigate German Tango Bands 1925-1939 [Harlequin 127], for the Germans went especially wild over the tango until the Nazis declared it verboten. Teutonic participants in Living Era's Vintage Tango collection are Alfred Hause and the Hamburg Radio Tango-Orchestra; Hans Carste and the Ludwig Ruth Orchestra; vocalist Fritz Weber and His Orchestra; Kramer & His Solo Players; Dajos Bela (Alfred Ditters) and the Palermo Tango Band, Heinz Huppertz, and Robert Renard & His Orchestra. Slavic tango talent is represented by Ukrainian/Rumanian violinist Marek Weber & His Orchestra and violinist Barnabas Von Geczy, The Dutch and Scandinavian players include vocalist Evert Taube with Bjorn Schildknecht; violinist Jens Warny & Son Orchestre, vocalist Eddie Russell with Richard Jensen and His Arena Orchestra and Malando & His Tango Orchestra, recorded in wild and restless Amsterdam. The Parisian tango scene is well represented here with orchestras led by A.J. Pesenti, Tito Henriotti, and Louis Ferrari; by the Don Alfredo Marimba Orchestra and the Paris-based Eldorado Tango Band. The British tango trend left a swath of dance records in its wake, here personified by George Scott-Wood and the London Piano-Accordeon Band, Victor Silvester & His Ballroom Orchestra, Sidney Torch & His Orchestra, and violinist Geraldo and His Gaucho Tango Orchestra. As for authenticity, three of these recordings were actually made in Buenos Aires, by Francisco Canaro, Francisco J. Lomuto & His Tipica Orchestra and operatic tenor Tito Schipa with an unidentified Argentine tango ensemble. Entertaining? Why, yes! And very educational for those who wish to study the informative liner notes.
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