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Gustavo Casenave: Tango Casenave

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Approaching traditional tango with a sensibility informed by jazz and European classical music, Uruguayan pianist and composer Gustavo Casenave creates an intriguing paradox: His Tango Casenave sounds at once retro and modern. A veteran of many high-profile tango shows, he clearly knows the conventions and the clichés and plays them beautifully with a wink, turning them this way and that. His tango (all but two tracks are originals) has the requisite melodrama but also the sparks and humor. Just check “Y Vos en la Pedrera,” a 53-second opus impeccably played at an agitated pace-imagine a berating scene in a silent black-and-white cartoon. For good measure, Casenave tangles not only with tradition but with the inescapable New Tango master Astor Piazzolla as well. He closes by reworking Piazzolla’s saintly “Adios Nonino.” Is there no respect? Thankfully, yes, and no.

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