Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fernando Suarez Paz

If there were a Piazzolla disciple from the classical world, it would probably be Fernando Suarez Paz. In the same sense, a disciple from the jazz world would probably be Pablo Ziegler. Both of these men were members of Piazzolla's last, and some say best, quintet. We have visited Ziegler's music previously in this blog. Today's video of Invierno Porteño from a 2008 performance by Fernando Suarez Paz and his quartet provide an opportunity to focus briefly on the career of Suarez Paz.

Fernando Suarez Paz was born in Buenos Aires in 1941. In 1978, his career as a violinist with several tango ensembles and with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic was interrupted by an invitation from Piazzolla to join his quintet. He toured the world with that quintet until it was dissolved in 1988 and appears in 18 recordings made during that period. In Natalio Gorin's book, Astor Piazzolla - A Memoir, Piazzolla identifies Suarez Paz as the violinist he would choose for the ideal quintet. While some fans argue that Antonio Agri would have been a better choice, I agree with Piazzolla - the sweetness of tone, incredible sense of timing and gypsy fleetness in Suarez Paz's playing puts him at the top of my list.

Since Piazzolla's death, Suarez Paz has continued to devote himself largely to the music of Piazzolla. He has toured with many other artists, appeared in many Piazzolla hommage programs, and recorded many additional albums - a personal favorite is the 2001 recording he did with the Assad Brothers, Sérgio & Odair Assad Play Piazzolla. It is a real pleasure to see him pass on his understanding of Piazzolla's music to the next generation of musicians in the quartet in this video. It should be noted that there is another intergenerational transfer which involves genes as well as music: Fernando's son, Leonardo Suarez Paz is one of his generations leading violinists following his father's classical/jazz/tango pathway. In this case, like father - like son seems truly to apply.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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