Tin Roof Tango,
Tin Roof Tango
(self-produced, 2000)

Tin Roof Tango's self-titled CD blends Celtic, jazz, bluegrass, Andean and salsa styles into an exciting whole. This is one of the most fun albums I've heard in a long time! I especially love the blend of Celtic/bluegrass with Latin styles; I haven't heard that done before, and it's as invigorating as Afro-Celt Sound System's blend of African and Celtic styles. Tin Roof Tango is a smaller group, and their music has a more intimate, folk-based sound.

The album is full of gems. "Danza del Sicuri #2" has a Celtic sound, though it's an Andean tune by a Bolivian composer, and the instrumentation blends Andean instruments with violin, guitar and mandolin. The liquid bell-like tones of the marimba add a wonderful quality to "Toca Bonito."

"Who Knew?" is a bluegrass love song, done superbly in traditional bluegrass style. "The Adventures of Uncle Thurman" is bluegrass, too, but with a difference; "Eel in the Sink/Banks of Newfoundland" blends two tunes from Irish accordionist William Sullivan into a traditional Celtic piece, also beautifully done.

I like the more idiosyncratic pieces a lot. "Opus Eggnog" is described as a tone poem, and blends mostly Latin and jazz sounds and approaches in a relatively long, experimental piece. "Viper Moon" blends jazz and bluegrass in a tune originally crafted for the dulcimer, here played with no dulcimers. And "Liquid Logic" combines a wild variety of instruments and styles into a far-ranging, fascinating and catchy piece.

The one song I didn't care for is Tin Roof Tango's cover of the rock "You've Made Me So Very Happy." It's pleasant enough, but the slower and softer version didn't add anything to the original. Still, it's a decent enough version, and doesn't detract from the other pieces.

The appearance of this album is wonderful, a perfect accent to the music. It uses bold, bright colors on a black background that makes them pop, and the back has entertaining comments, like the one promising us "Over 200 notes in each song....Guaranteed!" The liner notes are great, with details on the musicians and instruments, and appealing snippets of information about each song.

I like Tin Roof Tango very much indeed, and recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone who enjoys lively music, excellent playing and exciting combinations of musical styles.

[ by Amanda Fisher ]
Rambles: 21 July 2001

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