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March 2005

Gabriela Anders
Last Tango in Rio
Narada Media

The Argentinean bandeon-an accordion-like instrument that fuels the tango-gets an update on vocalist Gabriela Anders' Last Tango in Rio (Narada). She uses the bandeon where the saxophone would normally be in a jazz group, and while it takes some getting used to, it works. Anders has been a longtime resident of New York, but she studied music at conservatories in Buenos Aires. The influence of both cultures is in every note of her music. The CD also has a contemporary sound-hip-hop-tinged but with a solid jazz sensibility-and Anders' feathery vocals float a batch of originals and a mini tribute to Billie Holiday. Taking on tunes so closely associated with a legend ("Body and Soul" and "God Bless the Child") is dangerous ground. Borrowing heavily from chill-out electronica, Anders deconstructs "Child" to a point that it is almost unrecognizable. Blasphemy? Maybe, but I think Anders pulls it off with great success.

Originally published in March 2005
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