TANGO SUITE BUENOS AIRES
Antonio Gavrila, piano/composer; Walther Castro, bandoneon; Quique Sinesi, guitar; Horacio “Mono” Hurtado, bass.
The opening composition by A. Piazzolla is arranged in a dramatic way, with Antonio Gavrila’s piano spraying like a powerful waterfall across the chord changes and demanding attention. He builds this tune, starting with his upper-register notes tumbling over each other like leaves in a gardener’s blower. Then the arrangement streams into the Nuevo Tango tempo. The original Buenos Aires-born composer (Piazzolla) may not have imagined his tune blending baroque and Latin Jazz in such a modern way, but clearly Romanian-born pianist and composer, Antonio Gavrila has his own sense of tango. Gavrila approaches this music with extreme intensity and passion.
Astor Pantaleon Piazzolla is an Argentine legend who changed the face of tango and was heralded as an amazing composer, arranger, and bandoneon player. He was born March 11, 1921, and died July 4, 1992, but his music lives on. Antonio Gavrila gives a nod to Piazzolla’s legend by adding Walther Castro on this project to play bandoneon. This South American instrument sounds very similar to an accordion. Unlike the accordion, the bandoneon has no predefined chords. Gavrila employs similar Piazzolla techniques in his arrangements, like the frequent use of counterpoint. He also adds unexpected harmonics and sometimes dissonance to these tunes.
“Piazzolla is a daily inspiration for me. Not only musically but also as a person. … I learned things about his personality, his very strong character, and the confidence he had in his music, and that affected me too. But I am addicted to his music. From an early age I was attracted to musical freedom and these things definitely won me over in Piazzolla’s Nuevo Tango. It is the kind of music with a great openness to new things, inner things. As I like to say, tango cannot exist without fantasy,” Antonio Gavrila gushes with excitement when he talks about his legendary inspiration.
The first two songs Gavrila’s group plays are both Piazzolla compositions. The opening tune is “Michelangelo 70” and the second song on his album is “Introduccion Al Angel.” Then Gavrila branches out featuring music by other composers, including several original tunes he has penned himself.
Music is in Gavrila’s DNA. His late grandfather, Nelu Ploiesteanu, was a popular Romanian singer. He recorded over thirty albums before passing from COVID in 2021 at age 70.
“My grandfather was a very famous gypsy singer and accordion player in our country. After the second world war, many Romanian musicians brought tangos to Eastern Europe. I listened a lot when I was a child, and after my academic years, I started to study Piazzolla. His music greatly affected me because it sounded familiar. Piazzolla’s harmony was something very personal for me because I grew up with that kind of harmony and that style of improvisation,” Antonio explained his infatuation with the Neuvo Tango music of Argentina. Check out his grandfather’s music below.
There is a signature 3–3–2 pulse that defines Nuevo Tango and Quique Sinesi’s guitar lines often play counterpoint to the driving bandoneon solos. Both musicians are grounded by Gravila’s double bassist, Horacio “Mono” Hurtado. “Preludio e la Noche” paints a musical picture of a Buenos Aires citizen walking through a lonely Argentina suburb at night. Listen to the bass line. You will hear the steps of this stranger echoing through the darkness. When the band double-times the piece, I can almost picture the man being chased and running swiftly through the empty avenue. Gravila’s piano fingers also race across the keys. You can clearly here the African beat (3-3-2) used to infuse Nueva Tango music.
This unique music, inspired by the Argentina legend A. Piazzolla, and played by the twenty-seven-year-old Antonio Gavrila, (a pianist from Bucharest) reflects how jazz crosses continents and cultures. It will introduce you to tango music in a passionate, creative way.
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