Astor Piazzolla – The American Clavé Recordings (3LP, Coffret)
Bandoneon – Astor Piazzolla
Violin – Fernando Suárez Paz
Alto Saxophone, Clarinet – Paquito D'Rivera (LP3)
Bass – Andy Gonzalez (LP3), Hector Console (LP1 & LP2)
Electric Guitar – Rodolfo Alchourron (LP3)
Guitar – Horacio Malvicino (LP1 & LP2)
3LP, Box set
Includes an MP3 download code
Original analog Master tape : YES
Heavy Press : 180g
Record color : Black
Speed : 33RPM
Size : 12'’
Record Press : Pallas
Label : Nonesuch
Original label : Nonesuch
Released in May 2022
LP 1: Tango Zero Hour
- Tanguedia III
- Milonga Del Angel
- Concierto Para Quintero
- Milonga Loca
- Michelangelo '70
LP 2: La Camorra
- La Camorra I
- La Camorra II
- La Camorra III
- Sur: Los Sueños (South: The Dreams)
- Sur: Regresso Al Amor (South: A Return to Love)
LP 3: The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado)
- Prologue (Tango Apasionado)
- Milonga for Three
- Street Tango
- Milonga Picaresque
- Knife Fight
- Leonora's Song
- Prelude to the Cyclical Night (Part One)
- Butcher's Death
- Leijia's Game
- Milonga for Three (Reprise)
- Leonora's Love Theme
- Finale (Tango Apasionado)
- Prelude to the Cyclical Night (Part Two)
“If you’re old enough to remember the 1986 release of Argentine bandoneonist/composer Astor Piazzolla’s noirish Tango: Zero Hour, you’ll recall that its entry onto the world music stage was akin to that of punk rock a decade earlier in the U.K. Already the avatar of nuevo tango (a brand of native folk music made jazzy and cosmopolitan by his hand), the Ellington of Argentina brought fresh rhythmic and harmonic vibes—to say nothing of a modern chamber classicist’s mindset—to ancient music and made it essential.
Piazzolla had been fashioning his own alluringly electric brand of tango, one that departed greatly from the form’s usual hesitation-step rhythm and was filled with improvisation and contemporary chord shifts, since the mid-’50s. By the mid-’80s, however, with support from his Quinteto Tango Nuevo (bass, violin, piano, guitar) and producer/American Clavé label founder Kip Hanrahan, Piazzolla’s frenetic, romantic sound acquired just that much more of an edge.
Maybe it was Hanrahan’s visionary contributions or the nuevo New York studio setting that made the difference. No matter; today—as part of Nonesuch’s fresh triple-disc collection of American Clavé albums—Tango: Zero Hour still practically jumps off its vinyl frame, with brawny violin fingerings and passionate bandoneon staying at full throttle through moody ballads and more vibrant dance tracks alike.
What happens next, on La Camorra: The Solitude of Passionate Provocation and The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado)—the American Clavé collection’s other re-releases—is a matter of temperament, theme, and further reaches into jazz instrumentation and chamber-music aesthetics, with varying degrees of heat.
La Camorra (The Quarrel) features at its heart a three-part tone poem touching on several levels of machismo/toxic masculinity in a more melancholic—and mannered—fashion than Tango: Zero Hour abides. As with its predecessor, violinist Fernando Suárez Paz is the Keith Richards to Piazzolla’s Mick Jagger, a swaggering dueling partner. The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night keeps Paz and another longtime ensemble member, free pianist Pablo Ziegler, in place and fencing, while also welcoming Latin jazz masters Paquito D’Rivera (alto sax, clarinet) and Andy González (bass) into the fold. Crafted as a score to a theater piece based on the work of writer Jorge Luis Borges, Piazzolla & Co.’s Rough Dancer is a spacious postbop tango, light on its feet but heavy in its approximation of the mood of both Borges’ and Piazzolla’s ruminations.
Whether taken separately as in the past or united as in the current package, these three Piazzolla works portray a revolution in sound and sensuality in its final, frantic stages.” A.D. Amorosi, Jazz Times
Nonesuch Records releases a three-LP/three-CD box set of albums from the great Argentine composer, bandleader, and bandoneón player Astor Piazzolla—originally released by American Clavé Records in the 1980s and reissued by Nonesuch more than two decades ago—today. Astor Piazzolla: The American Clavé Recordings, available here, marks the first time this landmark trio of albums—Tango: Zero Hour, La Camorra: The Solitude of Passionate Provocation, and The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado)—is being issued as a set, now remastered, and is the first time the albums have been available on vinyl since their initial release on American Clavé. The set’s liner notes include original and new notes by the albums’ producer and American Clavé founder Kip Hanrahan as well as an in-depth essay from journalist Fernando González, who translated and annotated Piazzolla’s memoirs and wrote liner notes for four of his albums. Originally scheduled for release in Piazzolla’s centenary year 2021, the set now inaugurates the beginning of the second century of Piazzolla’s lasting influence.
Uncut exclaims: "On its own, each album makes a fine introduction to Piazzolla’s music, but together, they comprise a monumental contribution to world music."
González says in his 2021 note: “In May 1986, Astor Piazzolla, the creator of New Tango, entered the studio in Manhattan with his Quintet to record Zero Hour. It would turn out to be the first of three consequential recordings that would finally establish him in the United States and strengthen his standing around the world.”
Though Piazzolla was known as the progenitor of “nuevo tango,” Hanrahan says in his new liner note, “I’m not sure whether Astor really liked or loved or hated the tango. I think he loved the music his father surrounded the family with as the sound of what they’d left behind in Argentina … It was the audible identity that made them different from the Italian and Jewish families that lived around them on the Lower East Side of New York, where Astor grew up.
“When I listen to Astor, I’m not really listening to the tango re-imagined and saved by a brilliant composer, I’m listening to the music of a turbulent, complex, restless, brilliant man rearranging the vocabulary of his father’s dreams.”
Tango: Zero Hour was recorded in New York with Piazzolla and his classic New Tango Quintet, which worked with Piazzolla from 1978 to 1988 and included Fernando Suárez Paz (violin), Pablo Ziegler (piano), Horacio Malvicino, Sr. (guitar), and Héctor Console (bass). González says of Tango: Zero Hour: “These are demanding pieces, yet the individual playing remains consistently precise and intense throughout. As an ensemble, Piazzolla and his New Tango Quintet sound focused, loose and forceful. They are in total control of the music and prove it by casually changing direction, moods, and dynamics on a dime. Piazzolla immediately recognized that the quintet had accomplished something special, believing it to be ‘the greatest record I’ve made in my entire life. We gave our souls to [it].’” Tango Zero Hour was originally released by American Clavé in 1986.
First released in 1989, La Camorra was recorded in New York in May 1988, also with the New Tango Quintet. González writes: “La Camorra not only delivers a late masterpiece, the three-part title piece, but it also serves as a marker completing two significant chapters in Piazzolla’s life and musical career. Set up as three separate but related pieces, La Camorra is more than a summation. It suggests Piazzolla reflecting on tango, now lovingly, conjuring old players and styles, now angrily fighting with tango history, demanding his place in it.
“In Zero Hour style, Piazzolla completes the program with versions of pieces he had already recorded, polished to a gleam. The Quintet is again in excellent form. Featuring a substantial new work and impeccable performances of four repertoire pieces, La Camorra is a high water mark in Piazzolla’s discography. It was also Piazzolla’s last recording with the New Tango Quintet.”
The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night, also originally released in 1989, was recorded in New York in September 1987, with an ensemble that included Fernando Suárez Paz (violin), Pablo Zinger (piano), Paquito D’Rivera (alto sax, clarinet), Andy González (bass), and Rodolfo Alchourrón (electric guitar).
González says, “The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado), recorded by Piazzolla without the Quintet, occupies a unique place in his discography. It is based on the music Piazzolla composed for Tango Apasionado, a dance and theater piece created by Graciela Daniele based on stories by Argentine short-story writer, poet, and essayist Jorge Luis Borges. But what truly sets The Rough Dancer apart in Piazzolla’s discography is how it was created. Up to this point, the studio for Piazzolla had been, for the most part, a means to document the music he was producing. But [at this point], Piazzolla was intrigued by the idea of using the studio as a creative tool, perhaps even for composing and arranging.”
Astor Piazzolla’s nuevo tango, which incorporates classical forms and jazz elements into the traditional tango, was so controversial at its advent that Piazzolla had his life threatened on numerous occasions and was even exiled from his country. The traditional tango, born out of the bordellos of Buenos Aires in the way that jazz began in New Orleans, had been haunted by its origins for decades. Piazzolla, with his innovative style and desire to legitimize the tango and bring it to a serious musical audience, changed the face of the music forever.
When Tango: Zero Hour was first released, Piazzolla was at the peak of his powers. The Village Voice called Piazzolla “a modern master” while the New York Times said, “To hear Mr. Piazzolla’s tangos as musical marvels is beside the point. As edgy lines and long-breathed tunes defy and embrace one another, the tangos suggest that even in the modern world, romance survives.”