Piazzolla's career is neatly book-ended by two bassists: Kicho Díaz and Héctor Console. He composed works to showcase the skills of both and today's featured video showcases the work titled Kicho in a minimalist performance by the duo DeContraBando comprised of Diego Zecharies on contrabass and Alejandro Szabo on bandoneón.
Enrique "Kicho" Díaz was probably there the night Piazzolla joined Anibal Troilo's band in December, 1939. He certainly was a member of Troilo's band during most of the five years that Piazzolla played with Troilo. When Piazzolla formed his first quintet in 1960, Kicho left Troilo's band to join Piazzolla. While other members of the quintet changed, Kicho was the only bassist the group ever had and he appears on every recording made by the first quintet from 1960 to 1973. He was the preeminent tango bassist of his time. The work, Kicho, came relatively late in the history of the first quintet and was recorded only once, on the 1970 live recording, Piazzolla en el Regina.
Kicho was composed for quintet and it is not possible for the bandoneón/contrabass duo of Szabo and Zecharies to capture all of the nuances of the piece but Szabo has done an excellent job of capturing the essence of the missing three members of the quintet. On the bass, Zecharies' phrasing and intonation is superb and he brings more musicality to Kicho than Kicho did himself in the live recording at the Regina. Zecharies was born in Uruguay and currently lives in Spain. He is a classical contrabassist but no stranger to Piazzolla's music. With Hugo and Juan Lucas Aisemberg, he recorded TRioPlatense: Vayamos al Diablo. His YouTube performances of Le Grand Tango and Contrabajeando (also composed for Kicho Diaz) are excellent. Szabo, the bandoneónist, was born in Buenos Aires but currently also lives in Spain. The breadth of his skills are perhaps better seen in this DeContraBando demo video. Szabo has also done some excellent work as a duo with guitarist, Gabriel Silvera.
To return to the book-end image, just as Kicho was there for the first part of Piazzolla's career, Héctor Console was there for the last. He joined Piazzolla in 1979 with the second quintet and was there for Piazzolla's final ensemble recording, Live at the BBC, in 1989. The two bassists covered the most important twenty years of Piazzolla's performance career and together, appear on almost 80% of those Piazzolla recordings which included a contrabass player. There were remarkably few bassists in Piazzolla's recording career. According to Mitsumasa Saito's excellent discography, the other bassists include Valentin Andreotta (from Piazzolla's orquesta tipica), Hamlett Greco and Juan Vasallo (from the octet), Chet Amsterdam and George Duvivier (from NYC studio recordings), Giuseppe Prestopino (from studio recordings with Gerry Mulligan), Andy Gonzalez (from Pablo Zinger's Tango Apasionado ensemble) and Angel Ridolfi (who subbed for Console with the Sextet for the Lausanne concert recording).
Diego Zecharies would have been a worthy addition to that list.
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