Thursday, June 30, 2011

Escualo - Escalandrum

A recent blog highlighted the group, Escalandrum. I encourage you to read that blog but the short message from it is that the jazz combo formed by Piazzolla's grandson, Daniel "Pipi" Piazzolla, is called Escalandrum and they have a new recording, Piazzolla Plays Piazzolla, featuring the music of Piazzolla (the grandfather, Astor) and that the CD has been named by Piazzolla on Video the best Piazzolla CD of the year (even though there are six months to go in the year, I am confident no one will top it). The video accompanying that blog was from the Bridgestone Music Festival in São Paulo, Brazil.

On June 15, Escalandrum took their show to one of the most important venues in Argentina, the Teatro Gran Rex in Buenos Aires. Given the fame of the Piazzolla name in that city it must have been a nervous time for Pipi and his band. They need not have worried, reports are uniformly positive about the show. I recommend this excellent review of the show from Martín Vergara of the Jade Jazz y otras músicas blog who was fortunate enough to be there.

The piece featured in today's video is titled Escualo (which translates as "shark") and is both a salute to Piazzolla's hobby of shark fishing and part of the source of the name for the group Escalandrum. It was composed in 1979, and is one of Piazzolla's most rhythmically interesting compositions. It is a favorite of jazz musicians and an absolutely perfect vehicle to demonstrate the improvisational skills of Escalandrum. This is one of the best jazz covers of the work you will find anywhere.

Hopefully, more video from the Gran Rex performance will be available soon. While you are waiting for more, I encourage you to go to iTunes or Amazon and download the music.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

Note added 3 July, 2011: More videos from this concert have now been released on YouTube. To get a good overview of the evening, watch this one.

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

Follow Piazzolla on Video on Twitter.

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