The Zoho label continues to astonish with its ability to sign extraordinary composers and players, this latest, Tango Nostalgias by Julio Botti and Pablo Ziegler, exemplifying the sophistication that has come to be the organization's hallmark. Botti plays soprano and tenor saxes but with the sort of august mixture of classical values and modern jazz and World music sensibilities that individuals like Paul Winter pioneered…although, given that he was reflecting pre-existent styles, perhaps the term 'pioneered' is, like much of modern semantics, a tad mistaken, sorta like saying America was discovered by Europeans even though the land was populated by Natives. Still, the process of hybridization is a virtue, and that's what you get in Tango Nostalgias, to a degree that the result circles back and once again demonstrates the sometime poverty of language to properly characterize art.
The lead cut, Celtic Feast, starts out as chamber jazz with light avant-garde leanings (think Oregon) before wending its way into the noted Gaelic airs, but its a path through Ireland by way of Israel, a klezmer joy dance erupting as the song deepens and complicates, gathering energy unto itself, dancing its measures. The track is written by pianist/producer/arranger Pablo Ziegler, the gent who launched the tango nuevo style with Astor Piazolla (there's that hybridization gig again!) and who peals forth some extremely pristine lines from his keyboard, inventive and lithe. More than once in this CD, I was reminded of Leo Brouwer's and his recent Beatlerianas (here), a release about which not enough can be said. It's not that the sound is the same but that the exquisite crafting which went into the disc is of equally breathtaking quality. Brouwer's a rara avis modern classicalist when all's said and done, while Ziegler works from another tradition, but there's little lost between the two worlds, especially as Botti and crew weave such beautiful canvases around the melodies.
Introduccion al Angel is almost rogue-ish in its transposition of a number of ingredients within Piazzola's format, Botti playing vivacious Paul McCandless lines as Ziegler more than once steps out of the cut's character to interject both sass and winsome reflection, a chamber quintet painting the background with pastoral airs and earthworks. Cut after cut follow in similar manner. Though we live in an era where the ability to craft and re-craft almost anything is cause for exultant response, sometimes the degree to which music is continually invested with intelligence and ingenuity forces the audience to soberly step back a moment and marvel at what the human mind is capable of, what the human hand can produce. The Zoho artists, it is clearly seen, share that capacity in common.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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