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Inspired by the work of late, great Argentinean tango king Astor Piazzolla, Tosca is the brainchild of Glover Gill, former pianist/accordionist/body-art mascot for Austin, TX, neo-swingsters 8 1/2 Souvenirs. Gill assembled the septet in 1998, when the swing revival appeared to be running its course. Perhaps thinking he'd honed in on the next craze, Gill recruited Luis Guerra, bassist for offbeat Austin outfit Ta Mere. He found the rest of the group -- pianist Jeanine Attaway, cellist Sara Nelson, viola player Ames Asbell, and violinists Leigh Mahoney and Tom Sender -- through the University of Texas' School of Music, feeding them crucial bits of tango history as he nurtured them along. In Sender, Gill also found a writing partner, and the two of them went to work honing the material that would eventually make up the bulk of the band's 1998 debut, La Furia del Tango. While the album showed flair in its attempts to move tango off the dancefloor and into the living room, it was meant as little more than a well-applied primer for the full-body tango experience that accompanies the band's live shows. In 2001, the ensemble released the ambitious two-CD La Cuidad del Tango, most of which was recorded in Gill's living room. ~ Hobart Rowland