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Ted Nash & Odeon: La Espada de la Noche

Stop the world, I wanna get off. I don’t want to live on a planet where it’s acceptable to do a tango version of “A Night in Tunisia,” even as a joke-at least that’s how I hope Ted Nash and Odeon intended the idiomatic shotgun marriage that opens La Espada de la Noche (Palmetto) to be taken. Then again, there’s not much to separate “Tunisia” from anything else on the album, where the primary source throughout is the tango, though he also touches on klezmer and New Orleans-ian funk.

Nash overarranges “Tunisia,” “Tico Tico,” Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” and a couple of undistinguished originals for a tango-friendly instrumentation of sax/clarinet, violin, accordion, tuba and drums. As an improviser, he’s technically adept, sometimes impressively so. The group’s most interesting member, however, is violinist Nathalie Bonin, whose emotionally direct playing deserves a less hokey presentation. Some slobber over this type of elaborately arranged cross-cultural melange. To me, these concoctions are like genetically engineered food: If it’s conceived in a laboratory, I’ll pass. I prefer the organic and free-range stuff.

Originally Published