Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cafe 1930 - Sureste Trio

Authentic has often been used in this blog as a synonym for "good" with respect to Piazzolla's music. Today's video of Cafe 1930 by Germany's Sureste Trio is not authentic but it is unquestionably good, in fact, very good. The authentic version of Cafe 1930 was composed for flute and guitar - it is played by Sureste on clarinet, guitar and contrabass. The authentic depicts tango music as it might have been heard in a San Telmo cafe in 1930 - Sureste retains some hints of tango but adds a bit of swing, a touch of gypsy and a touch of klezmer. The cafe feels more Barcelona or Paris or Berlin than San Telmo.

That this is something different is tipped off by the guitar introduction which moves quickly from flamenco to jazz to bossa nova before the familiar descending notes of Piazzolla's opening arrive. The introduction is the creation of Angel Garcia Arnès, the guitarist and arranger for Sureste. All the musicians in Sureste are good but the guitar work of Arnès is simply superb - deft, clean, flowing, creative. Among the best I have heard. The clarinet covers the flute part - it doesn't just play the flute part, it recaptures it in a clarinet appropriate way. The klezmer touch and swing of clarinetist, Witek Kornacki, is very reminiscent of another clarinetist famed for his interpretations of Piazzolla, Giora Feidman. The work of bassist, Guido Jäger, is pitch perfect, understated and absolutely necessary to the tight sound of this trio. If you enjoy the interlude between Arnès and Jäger at the four minute mark of today's video, then you will really enjoy the duet they provide in their video of Contrabajeando. The virtuosity of these two musicians is quite apparent in that video.

There is also a YouTube video featuring the trio playing Piazzolla's Meditango. The meditative part of this piece which begins around 3'35" into that video has never been played better. Far too many musicians never recognize the essence of the work at that point - Arnès feels the music. And if you want more of the Sureste Trio, I strongly encourage you to buy their CD, Soledad.

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