Tango Siempre,
(Tango, 2004)

This is a recording of exceptional quality -- and the music twists and turns with moments of high drama, levity and humour. I'd seen Tango Siempre at a totally acoustic performance recently, and listening to this album brought the music right back to me. The playing is flawless -- Pete Rosser (accordion/bandoneon), Jonathan Taylor (piano), Ros Stephen (violin) and Kylie Davies (double bass) are masters of their craft, with varied jazz/classical backgrounds -- and you do notice a wonderful sense of communication between them in their musical timing.

Most readers will probably know that tango music itself grew from dark beginnings (its roots intriguingly seem to stem back to the slave era, and there are definite Indo-Spanish connections, too). It took some time to metamorphose into the dramatic-yet-elegant musical form we know today.

Tango Siempre specialise in the tango nuevo style, and this recording offers superb improvisations of Astor Piazzolla's work. Absolute standout is "Oblivion" (arranged here by Jonathan Taylor), an ambient, serious, emotionally interpreted piece on which Taylor and Stephen excel. There's also a stunning interpretation of "Luz y Sombra," with its angular rhythms lending tension to the music.

The ensemble has a marvellous and gifted composer in Pete Rosser, and there are some remarkable commissions here, including "Tango Marica," "Duel," "Sweet Clarity" and the stunning "Lavengro" -- this last piece was composed to mark the enlargement of the EU in April 2004 and, musically, it seems to embrace the new member countries with its richly eastern European feel. Pablo Ziegler's "Places" takes the band into jazz/tango fusion territory -- its rhythmic structure is remarkable.

These are passionate expressions of an exciting world music form from a fine British ensemble who've chosen to make tango music their speciality.

- Rambles
written by Debbie Koritsas
published 26 March 2005

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