Sunday, July 3, 2011

Midsummer Night Swing

It must be one of the longest running dance parties in the world - the Midsummer Night Swing held at New York City's Lincoln Center every year since 1989. The event lasts three weeks with dancing in the plaza in front of Lincoln Center almost every night. Great bands can be expected and they cover the full dance spectrum from swing to salsa to big band to Irish to soul and, yes, to tango. This year's tango night fell on June 30th and the band was Héctor Del Curto's Eternal Tango Orchestra. You would hope that Piazzolla would be heard at the event and he was. Today's video shows the last dance of the evening and it was, the perhaps inevitable, Libertango.

I don't know if there was a night devoted to tango in that first year, 1989, but I do know that there has been one ever since 1991 - that is twenty years of tango at Midsummer Night Swing. In 1991, music was provided by Raúl Jaurena (recently featured in this blog) and Marga Mitchell - both still active in the tango world. I have not found a complete list of all the tango groups since 1991 but other featured tango artists have included the New York - Buenos Aires Connection in 1994 and 1995, Pablo Merinetti in 2001, Tanguardia in 2002, Avantango in 2004, Quintango in 2006, Orquesta Tipica Imperial in 2008, Otros Aires in 2009 and Narcotango in 2010. Héctor Del Curto, leader of this year's band, has also made appearances in 2003 with the Eternal Tango Quintet with Roxana Fontán and in 2005 and 2007 with the Eternal Tango Orchestra. That makes Del Curto and his musicians the closest thing there is to a house band for tango at Lincoln Center.

Héctor Del Curto is very definitely the go-to man for tango music in New York City. The bandoneón is in his genes - both his grandfather and his great grandfather were famous Argentine bandoneónists. At age 17, Héctor was already a world class bandoneónist who was invited to play with the legendary tango master, Osvaldo Pugliese. He has since played with many of the legends of tango including a twelve year stint as bandoneónist for the various ensembles put together by Pablo Ziegler, pianist from Piazzolla's last quintet. You have seen him in this blog in the past and you will see him again in the future.

Membership in the Eternal Tango Orchestra has changed over the years but according to their Facebook page, the current members are
Hector Del Curto, Gustavo Casenave, Pedro Giraudo, Jisoo Ok, Sami Merdinian, Nick Danielson, Sergio Reyes, David Hodges, Katie Kresek, Machiko Ozawa, and Marcelo Kazanietz. While today's video captures the spirit of the evening at Midsummer Night Swing, it does not capture the Eternal Tango Orchestra very well so I encourage you to watch their promotional video to enjoy their full effect.

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1 comment:

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