Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Piazzolla made his first acquaintance with vibraphonist Gary Burton in 1965 but it was not until 1986 that he composed works specifically for performance with Burton. Those works were presented at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1986 and and can be heard on the album, The New Tango. Vibraphonissimo is viewed by many as being the best of those tunes.

The piece has an unusual structure: modal, maybe pentatonic, in the beginning progressing to traditional intervals with quotes from Offenbach in the middle. It is either the jazziest of Piazzolla's nuevo tango music or the most canyengue of his jazz works - a very clever blend of styles. Others have covered the piece but no one comes as close to capturing the energy of the original as does Ryota Komatsu and his quintet with guest vibraphonist Nanae Mimura. Komatsu is certainly the best interpreter of Piazzolla in Japan and among the best in the world. He is one of the few that brings the same energy to the bellows that Piazzolla did in his prime. Nanae Mimura is a new musician to me but she handles the part with grace and skill. I will seek out more of her music. This is an excellent performance by any measure.

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