Friday, February 25, 2011

Laura's Dream - Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone

I suspect it was a highlight in the lives of both men when Piazzolla first performed with vibraphone master, Gary Burton. The result of their collaboration was preserved in a recording which belongs in the collection of every music lover: The New Tango. This recording captured their performance at the 1986 Montreux Jazz Festival. Their performance of Laura's Dream was a highlight of that concert. Video of that performance was highlighted in this blog but the videos have since been removed from YouTube, presumably for copyright reasons. Fortunately you can still view Burton and Piazzolla performing Laura's Dream together at the Ravenna Jazz Festival in a two part video viewable here and here. That video was reviewed in this blog earlier.

Today's video features Burton performing Laura's Dream with pianist, Makoto Ozone. Burton and Ozone have collaborated for twenty years or more - most recently in a 2010 tour of Japan. They have recorded the version of Laura's Dream seen in today's video in the 1995 recording, Face to Face. Today's video was made that same year at the Münchner Klaviersommer jazz festival.

There are significant differences between the Burton/Ozone version and the original Montreux version. As a piece of music, Laura's dream is unusual Piazzolla. It is a long piece, more than ten minutes, rhythmically bland most of that time, and it is essentially serial as opposed to structural although the opening theme does return at the end. Presumably the title refers to a dream of Piazzolla's wife, Laura. And, indeed, the Montreux version opens with a haunting, meandering dream-like sequence but anxiety clearly enters the dream at the five minute point, interrupted briefly by a peaceful interlude at seven-and-a-half minutes before returning to anxiety at eight minutes in a very rhythmic, staccato section, to a polyphonic chase sequence at nine minutes, and a brooding bandoneón solo at ten minutes before drifting back to the original haunting, meandering theme as the piece closes. The original closes with the longest, most perfect glissando ever played by Suarez Paz. The original is very much a work featuring Burton's vibraphone and Piazzolla's bandoneón is in the background except for that brief solo at ten minutes. The version in today's video is clearly the same piece and Burton brings essentially all of his portion of the original score to the piece. Ozone fills in the rest and his work is masterful. In fact, I believe he brings some order and structure to the piece that is missing in the original. The final result is wonderful music that holds up as well to repeated listening as the original Montreux version.

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