Argentine bandoneon master Astor Piazzolla is one of this century’s most important musicians. His radical transformation of his native tango from its back alley origins to the grand, symphonic boulevard of jazz improvisation, classical harmonics/dissonances and tempestuous Latin melodies of Tango Nuevo, places him right up there with the likes of Satchmo, Stravinsky and the Duke. At the center of Piazzolla’s revolution was the melancholic darkness of his bandoneon. A humble relative of the better-known accordion, the diatonic bandoneon was considered to be mere coloration until the master’s sheer will expanded it into a lead instrument capable of saxophone-like solos and piano-esque harmonics (Piazzolla’s evolution was personally encouraged by tango maestro Carlos Gardel, composer Alberto Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger).
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