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Pablo Ziegler & Metropole Orkest: Amsterdam Meets New Tango

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Pianist Pablo Ziegler plunges into a kinetic musical cityscape evoking the downtown of his native Buenos Aires at the start of this ebullient disc, recorded in 2009 in Amsterdam with some of his longtime associates and the Metropole Orkest. This is music both subtle and zesty, an expansion of the New Tango Ziegler has been fashioning since the 1980s. With guitarist Quique Sinesi, bandoneon virtuoso Walter Castro and cajón master Quintino Cinalli beating precise tattoos, Ziegler has transformed small-group arrangements into exuberant big-band works. This album sparkles.

It is wonderfully urbane and smart, traversing the joyous “Milonga Para Hermeto” (a nod to Hermeto Pascoal), the sultry “Blues Porteño,” the spiky “Desperate Dance” and two Buenos Aires tunes-“Buenos Aires Report” and the longer, more complicated “Buenos Aires Dark”-that belie the project’s symphonic ambitions.

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