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Tango Siempre Tangents Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Their music might be ‘tango always’ but this time the tangents they take are in...

Jon Lusk 2007

Tango Siempre’s first two albums relied largely on covers of pieces by Argentinean tango greats such as Aníbal Troilo, Astor Piazzolla and his former pianist Pablo Zeigler. Such influences are still loud and clear on the third album by this British trio, but it finds them moving more confidently into original composition and working with several new guests, most notably Israeli expat saxophonist (and former Blockhead) Gilad Atzmon and drummer/remixer Steve Argüelles. As the group’s Spanish name and the album title suggest, their music might be ‘tango always’ but this time the tangents they take are in the direction of jazz and electronica.

The core of the group are Jonathan Taylor (piano), Pete Rosser (accordion, rather than the bandoneón typical of tango) and Ros Stephen (violin), though their lack of grandstanding as soloists means you’ll be hard pressed to know who composed what without looking at the credits. This is to their credit as ensemble players, although you almost wishe they’d stretch out and solo a little more. And there are a few occasions where Argüelles’ electronic percussive effects seem a tad intrusive – a sort of half-cocked and slightly self-conscious nod to the post-millennial electrotango movement exemplified by Gotan Project and Bajofondo Tango Club.

Things kick of in uncharacteristic fashion with Taylor’s edgy "Diablo Fast", which is littered with electronic drum buzzes that give it a drum ‘n’ bass flavour. The subsequent longer piece "Diablo Slow" is more typical of the album’s generally meditative, meandering pace. Interest sags a bit in the middle section, but things pick up on the second half, with "Los Pasos Gigantes", which is inspired by John Coltrane (as in Giant Steps, get it?), though that’s not really apparent until Atzmon’s squally sax noodlings towards the end. The real highlight is Atzmon’s 9-minute "Nazareth", where his long wailing ruminations on soprano sax introduce an evocative Middle Eastern feel. The following "No Te Olvido" is another lyrical treat, and like "Nazareth" a highlight of their live sets, while the playful, quirky cover of "(La) Cumparsita" (the most famous tango ever) is a refreshingly irreverent closer.

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