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Album Review

Pianist Pablo Ziegler has deep roots in the tango nuevo movement. After spending much of his early career playing behind the legendary Astor Piazzolla, he struck out on his own in the 1990s and currently leads a trio with guitarist Quique Sinesi and bandoneon player Walter Castro, and together they work in a fascinating, if sometimes rather austere, style of jazz-tango fusion. The danger of this kind of configuration is that the lack of a rhythm section will lead to vague musical structure and a rhythmic sense that evaporates into impressionistic noodling. Ziegler and his colleagues avoid that trap, but not completely. The group's second album, a live set recorded in Amsterdam, opens auspiciously with the title track, a restrained but melodically spiky number that is played very tightly — but would have sounded even tighter if there were rhythm instruments on hand to keep the composition's outlines clear. "Pájaro Ángel" is a sweet and gentle waltz, while "Milonga Para Hermeto" boasts a speedy, lilting, and gorgeous melody — one that might almost sound like bebop if it weren't so pretty and unselfconscious. But then things bog down. "Blues Porteño" is contemplative and not particularly interesting, and neither "Elegante Canyenguito" nor "Buenos Aires Dark..." does much to revive listener interest. The program ends on a high note, though, with a fine rendition of Piazzolla's classic composition "Libertango." The musicianship is impressive throughout, and at its best this is an exceptionally lovely album.


Born: 02 September 1949 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Pianist Pablo Ziegler is known as one of Astor Piazzolla's foremost protégés. He began performing classical music in concert as a teen and became inspired by Dixieland jazz soon after; he combined the two styles in his Pablo Ziegler Trio, which performed classical pieces with jazz arrangements. After his years with the trio, Ziegler was invited to play with Astor Piazzolla's New Tango Quintet in 1978, and performed and recorded with the group for over a decade. He also performed with international...
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Buenos Aires Report, Pablo Ziegler
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