Argentine born saxophone maestro Julio Botti has been delighting in the fruitful rhythmic and romantic exultations of his country’s native vibe for years, but never quite as personally and poignantly as he does on his latest album Pure Tango – a multi-faceted, traditional tango set highlighting the emotional connection and dynamic chemistry between Botti and pianist Matias Lanfranco.
The compelling story behind the New York and Cordoba, Argentina recorded collection helps illuminate the 11- track collection’s continuous sense of heartfelt urgency, joy and sorrow. Introduced in late 2017 in Botti’s hometown of Bell Ville, the two became fast friends and musical compadres and over time, began artfully blending Botti’s modern jazz/nuevo tango flow with Lanfranco’s folkloric twist on classic tango.
The two gave a special performance at the Teatro Coliseo in Buenos Aires in September 2018 – a triumphant show which also had a somber element for Botti, whose mother, in attendance, was suffering from cancer. Upon her passing several months later, the duo set out to record a dual project that included classic songs from their set list that night. They laid down the sax and piano in NYC, then gathered the cream of the crop musicians (including bassist Leonardo Pedrozo Avila, bandoneon player Alejandro Colombatti and sensual, theatrical-styled vocalist Maria Jose Rojas) to flesh out the recorded in Cordoba.
The collection is a tango tour de force that captures all the romance, passion, soulful intensity and percussive excitement of the genre in many of its forms (waltz, milonga, zamba, etc.) Thus, in addition to this being a showcase for an explosive, intuitive new partnership, Pure Tango is a primer for fans of the genre who want to learn more about its regional diversity. Co-producer Kabir Sehgal’s illuminating liner notes go a long way towards facilitating this education.