by Lee Passarella
for Audiophile Audition
May 18, 2012
My reaction to Tango and Snow convinces me even more that I’m not so averse to the tango as I am to the tango done up in black tie and tails. I’m much happier with tangos done by modest performing forces, tangos that remember their dancehall roots. These tango-inspired pieces for flute, alto flute, or piccolo and guitar are piquant, virtuosic, with lots of flutter-tonguing, double-tonguing, and quick melodic switchbacks for the flute, drumming and strumming for the guitar. They make for attractive, engaging listening, even if you’re more taken with the lively rhythms and bravura playing than by the melodies, of which there are often mere snippets, more in the nature of riffs on the tango. Such a number is the first, “Tango Destroyer,” and last, “Whiplash Rides.” Some of the slower numbers, however, spin out longer, more memorable melodies over a changing accompaniment much as Piazzola often does in his work. Of these pieces, “Adequate Condition Blues” is memorable for melding tango and blues. The title piece, “Tango and Snow,” also blends the usual driving ostinatos and syncopations with a cooler vibe, to interesting effect.
According to flutist Carmen Maret, this piece is close to Piazzzola’s own style “with its fast-slow-fast form, cadenzas, and chromatic bass line in the slow section.” “The Lemon Smugglers” is a milonga, the syncopated dance that was forerunner to the tango and of which Piazzola wrote a number (such as the two specimens that Duo AcCello plays on their disc).
Andrew Bergeron’s suite “Through the Rain,” made up of five short pieces, covers a varied sonic landscape, from the “Sound of Rain,” which is almost all musical sound effects, through the swooping “Downpour and Release,” to the mesmeric “After the Rain.” There’s really a lot to like here for enthusiasts of tango, blues, and jazz. Performances are suave and full of energy, the sound recording especially fine—only the rather short playing time is a mark against this disc.
Carmen Maret: Tango Destrroyer
Maret: Adequate Conditions Blues
Andrew Bergeron/Carmen Maret: Algonquin Vals
Bergeron: Tango and Snow
Bergeron: Full Long Nights Moon
Bergeron: Through the Rain
Maret: Pajaro Rojo Santo
Maret: The Lemon Smugglers
Maret: Cumparsita Cats
Maret: Whiplash Rides