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  • Jonathan Widran

ANTONIO GAVRILA, Tango Suite Buenos Aires

Casual fans of Argentine tango will surely enjoy young, wildly talented Bucharest-born pianist Antonio Gavrila’s exotic, high spirited and electrifying second album Tango Suite Buenos Aires without the fancifully detailed history lesson about chief inspiration Astor Piazzolla in Bill Milkowski’s exceptional liner notes.

But it’s clear from some of Gavrila’s quotes therein that the emerging Romanian artist wants everyone to know just how the life and music of Piazzola – whose revolutionizing of the tango with jazzy elements often earned him derision as “the tango assassin” – revitalized his own musical life. In the description of “Nuevos Tiempos,” the bright and fiery ensemble romp that constitutes Pt. II of Gavrila’s titular four part “Tango Suite Buenos Aires,” the pianist exults that the piece represents his “musical rebirth” after 15 years of classical study, as if he was literally “reborn through tango.”

The subtitle of the deeply soulful, vibrantly percussive Pt. IV, “Todo Piazzolla” ensures we listeners know he’s giving thanks and paying homage to “the great Astor. Through his music, I was reborn.” This piece, which dramatically wraps the centerpiece suite of the album that begins with the contemplative intro section “Tristeza,” features Quique Sinesi’ snappy guitar solo and some of Gavrila’s most dynamic and seamless interaction with Walther Castro’s jubilant bandoneon magic.

Gavrila amiably sets the stage for his original suite with four unique pieces that serve as an introduction to his own interpretation of the tango – including Piazzolla’s rambunctious “Michelangelo 70” (featuring the maestro’s Nuevo Tango defining 3-3-2 pulse) and gently reflective ballad “Introduccion al Angel,” Marcelo Rodriguez’s sly, cinematic narrative “Preludio en la Noche” and the ballad “Amor Sin Palabras,” Gavrila’s charming duet with Castro which the pianist calls “a conversation between me and my soul.” If this is the future of tango, Piazzolla has from on high chosen a worthy successor who both honors and builds on his legacy.


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