Tangents - New Directions in Tango

DAVID WAKEFIELD Norwich Arts Centre (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


Norwich Arts Centre (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

Tango has always been, for me, as much a visual thing as a musical form – the everlasting image being Al Pacino in the movie Scent of a Woman. But, like all musical forms, it stands scrutiny as an exploratory vehicle, and fusing jazzmen with tango ensemble Tango Siempre worked well in this concert.

Gilad Atzmon, the outstanding Israeli multi-reed player, is no stranger to exercises of this kind. Although by nature an out-and-out bopper, he runs various ensembles exploring Middle Eastern and Balkan gipsy music; so tango is something of a natural progression.

The strict tempi laid down by Tango Siempre (Pete Rosser, Ros Stephen, Bethan Lewis, Jonathan Taylor and Yaron Stavi) proved an ideal base for Atzmon to unleash some shimmering solos, notably on soprano saxophone. And when the ensemble was joined for the second half by Steve Arguelles (drums and remixer) the music took on an extra dimension reminiscent of Chick Corea's Spanish period.

The music comprised mainly originals by Tango Siempre members, although Atzmon's mournful Nazareth proved a contrast, as did a piece by Will Gregory (of electro-pop band Goldfrapp). It was a fascinating evening's music, but, I have to say, it lost a slice of excitement for the period that Gilad Atzmon was not on stage.

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