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Buenos Aires Report by Pablo Ziegler and Quique Sinesi with Walter Castro

Pablo Ziegler was the pianist for the last - and some say greatest - quintet led by the legendary Tango innovator Astor Piazzolla. A classically trained pianist and composer who possesses prodigious jazz improvisational chops, Ziegler has continued to develop the ‘Tango Nuevo’ language that Piazzolla created in the early 1960s, accompanied by artists as diverse as classical pianist Emmanuel Ax, operatic mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, and jazz soloists Gary Burton, Joe Lovano, and Stefon Harris. "Buenos Aires Report" is Ziegler’s second trio recording with guitarist Sinesi and bandoneonero Castro. It’s also his second recording for the New York-based Zoho label - their previous effort, "Bajo Cero," won a Latin Grammy in 2005 for ‘Best Tango Album’

Sinesi was in Dino Saluzzi’s group before forming a duo with Ziegler in 1990. It’s readily apparent from his extended solo intro to Piazzolla’s classic ‘Libertango’ that Sinesi has virtuoso chops, though his sound is clearly rooted in jazz. Judging from his fleet-fingered solos on the title track, ‘Buenos Aires Dark’ and especially ‘Milonga Para Hermeto’ the Brazilian virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti is a major influence. Castro, the youngest member of the trio, is definitely up to the task of playing with Ziegler and Sinesi. He has a mellow, agreeable tone and his improvisational abilities are first rate, as evidenced by his extended solo on ‘Muchacha del Boedo.’

The Ziegler / Sinesi / Castro trio has a lighter, looser, and jazzier sound compared to Piazzolla’s quintet which specialized in thick knotty harmonies and high musical drama. Sinesi’s use of the acoustic guitar rather than the electric guitar also imparts a pleasant airiness and lightness to "Buenos Aires Report". Ziegler’s music also emphasizes improvisation to a much greater extent than Piazzolla's. That said, the trio covers one of Piazzolla’s best-loved pieces (‘Libertango’) and performs several others that could merge seamlessly into Piazzolla’s oeuvre. The more traditional pieces, such as ‘Elegante Canyenguito,’ ‘Pajaro Angel,’ and ‘Muchacha del Boedo,’ never got too sentimental or maudlin. Ziegler’s cutting edge material ('Buenos Aires Dark', 'Places', 'Milonga Para Hermeto', and the title track) is dynamic and daring stuff indeed, though it doesn’t stray too far from the parameters set by Piazzolla’s 80s quintet. One exception is ‘Milonga para Hermeto’, which speeds up the traditional milonga rhythm so that it resembles a Brazilian frevo. Ziegler and particularly Sinesi successfully impart that peculiarly Brazilian saudade feeling during their solos.

"Buenos Aires Report" is one of those rare recordings that captures virtuosos playing original music that can get pretty dark and thorny, but is also profoundly enjoyable and quite listener-friendly throughout. If you are already a fan of Astor Piazzolla’s music - what are you waiting for?

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Pablo Ziegler and Quique Sinesi with Walter Castro
  • CD Title: Buenos Aires Report
  • Genre: Latin Jazz / Latin Funk
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Zoho
  • Tracks: Buenos Aires Report, Pajaro Angel, Places, Milonga Para Hermeto, Blues Porteno, Elegante Canyenguito, Muchacha de Boedo, Buenos Aires Dark, Libertango
  • Musicians: Pablo Ziegler (piano), Quique Sinesi (guitars), Walter Castro (bandoneon)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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