The Tango Series

In Argentina, there are many ensembles that contribute to a varied and fresh tango scene. Some of them re-enact the tradition, others build upon it to produce their own original creations. The list is long, but for sure includes the musicians performing in this ground-breaking concert series at BOZAR.

Tango originated by the end of the 19th century from an encounter of classical, popular and folkloristic music of European immigrants, people of African descent and the gaucho – rural population, bringing with it native Indian and Spanish heritage – who moved to the River Plate, to the ports of Montevideo (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) in search of work. Together they played traditional tunes from their own lands, mixing melodies, harmonies and rhythms that all contributed to the birth of the musical language of tango.

With Escalandrum, Daniel “Pipi” Piazzolla pays tribute in BOZAR to his illustrious grandfather Astor Piazzolla. In the past 19 years, he has toured the world with his band Escalandrum, performing with such artists as Enrico Rava, Dave Holland, Ute Lemper and John Scofield. So when he finally decided to tackle the musical legacy of the family’s patriarch, he demonstrated considerable maturity. The tribute album Piazzolla Plays Piazolla, an eloquent musical mix of tango and jazz, was such an international hit that it was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award, winning three Premios Gardel, the Argentinean music awards. 

Juan Pablo Navarro Sexteto performs a contemporary version of tango. Just as the great tango masters, he advances tango further by combining its elements and techniques in new ways, and providing additional ones from other practices, in his case jazz and contemporary music. Juan Pablo Navarro’s impressive musical career reads like a tango score. He has previously shared the stage with such tango legends like Horacio Salgán and Ubaldo de Lío, the founders of the Quinteto Real and living jazz legend Joe Lovano. Critics and his peers consider him to be one of the most important double bass players in Argentinean popular music. His six-piece ensemble is a fixture in concert halls and at tango festivals across Argentina. On 8 May 2019, Navarro introduces us to his Tango-Jazz, an original combination of tango, jazz and contemporary music. He likes to call his compositions “postcards from a New Sound of Buenos Aires”.

A mythical group of the 1960s, the Quinteto Real – in a new line-up – offers a unique opportunity to listen to some of its best arrangements and compositions in the hands of top-notch musicians, as well as new works by its leader César Salgán, son of the legendary Horacio Salgán, who founded the ensemble together with the celebrated guitar player Ubaldo De Lío. Since then many legendary musicians have been members of the group, performing both original compositions and standards. Nowadays Cesar Salgán supplements his father’s fantastic repertoire with his own compositions, creating an unrivaled rhythmic and harmonic language. In 2000, they were named the 'twentieth century’s best quintet'.  Wynton Marsalis is a fan. And so are we.

To complete, Sonico re-enlivens the unfairly disregarded work by bandoneonist and composer Eduardo Rovira through pieces that clearly show his innovations within the genre. SONICO is a young, Brussels-based quintet. After touring with the Argentinean pianist Fernando Otero (4 Grammys), the ensemble will tour Argentina in August 2018 to promote its first album, Eduardo Rovira: La Otra Vanguardia, dedicated to the composer Eduardo Rovira, who is often compared to Piazzolla. Like Piazzolla, he played a key role in the development of contemporary tango music in Buenos Aires in the late Fifties. Rovira, whose work has since fallen into obscurity, is responsible for many tango innovations. SONICO is now making up for this oversight, with an album that includes 12 original compositions and arrangements, which it will present at BOZAR after having toured some of the most prestigious Argentinean concert venues. 

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