Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vibraphone AND not OR Marimba

Gary Burton was no doubt instrumental in awakening the vibraphone community to the music of Astor Piazzolla. Their meeting has been discussed before in this blog and their music together was captured in the essential CD, The New Tango: Recorded At The Montreux Festival. Since that recording, there have many artists who have employed the vibraphone or its precursor, the marimba, in performances of Piazzolla's works. Many of these have featured the vibraphone OR marimba as a substitute for the guitar in Histoire du tango. Only rarely does one find vibraphone AND marimba on the Histoire but that is what you will see and hear in today's featured video, a performance of Nightclub 1960 - the third movement of the Histoire.

The performers are Jaume Blai Santonja Espinós on vibraphone and Manuel Martínez Navarro on marimba. Jaume is a relatively recent graduate of the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya. Manuel is perhaps also a student at ESMUC or perhaps at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam - at any rate they are friends as well as the performers in the duo, AKT-TÈK. They are superb musicians - elegant and conservative in motion, they capture a remarkable level of emotion from their percussion instruments. You can find audio of their performance of the first two movements of the Histoire here. Let's hope they are up to the challenge of the fourth, and most difficult movement, Concert d'aujourd'hui in the near future. Finding a coherent musical message in that fourth movement is a challenge but I believe these two young musicians are among the few who may be capable of doing it.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

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

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