"One of the nicest things in my life" - that is the way Piazzolla referred to his collaboration with Gerry Mulligan to create the album, Summit (Reunion Cumbre) according to Natalio Gorin's book, Astor Piazzolla - A Memoir. We get to share a bit of that "nicest thing" today in a video which is new to YouTube - a video of Piazzolla and Mulligan performing Years of Solitude on Italian TV in 1974.
The relationship between Piazzolla and Mulligan was rich and interesting. There are many tales of the pair to be read in both the Gorin book and the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango. Their paths first crossed in 1955, when Piazzolla attended a Mulligan jazz octet concert in Paris which inspired him to create his own Buenos Aires octet and to emulate the rotating soloist format - something standard in jazz but quite new to tango. Nearly twenty year later, in 1974, they were brought back together by Aldo Pagani - a promoter who represented both of their interests in Italy. For a relatively brief and sometimes stormy period they collaborated to produce the Summit album, to tour together briefly in Italy and France and to appear on Italian television. Until this video appeared, I had no idea that any of the television appearance survived. Their paths crossed again in 1990 when Mulligan attended a Piazzolla concert in Milan and suggested that it was time to record another album. Pagani offered substantial sums to both performers for such an album but Piazzolla declined. We can only dream of what further music these two giants could have created together.
Many thanks are offered to The Jazz Researcher for posting this video. You can see more of their fine collection of jazz videos at this YouTube channel. Let's hope there are some more classic Piazzolla videos in The Jazz Researcher's vault which will eventually be made available to us.
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To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.