|Piazzolla In Brooklyn|
by Willard Manus
Once you've heard one tango you've heard 'em all. I used to think that until I was sent a review copy of PIAZZOLLA IN BROOKLYN, a new CD by the Pablo Aslan Quintet.
Aslan, the Argentine-born bass player and bandleader (who now resides in Brooklyn), was an admirer of tango master Astor Piazzolla's 1959 recording of Take Me Dancing, which tried to blend jazz and tango in a fresh, appealing way.
"The album was awful," Aslan said, "but I felt there were many places where the music could be opened up and developed further...That was the Eureka moment, when I realized the material had a potential that just needed to be unleashed."
Now, fifty years later, Aslan has revamped Take Me Dancing. Working with four other topnotch Argentinian musicians (including Piazzolla's drummer grandson, Pipi), Aslan has updated eight jazz/tango tunes, leaving lots of room for improvisation and spontaneity. The result is tango music unlike any you've ever heard before, music that uses elements of hard bop, fugal structure and complex harmonics to create its own rythmically unique world.
Two standards that weren't written by Piazzolla--Laura and Lullaby of Birdland--are also given a makeover by the Pablo Aslan Quintet. I'd love to see what a tango dance troupe could do with those nifty numbers.