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Pablo Ziegler Quartet at Jazz Standard with Guest, Harry Allen
Pablo Ziegler Quartet: Tango Meets Jazz
December 2, 2005 - Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, NYC
by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

Pablo Ziegler, Piano
Hector del Curto
, Bandoneón
Pedro Giraudo
, Bass
Claudio Ragazzi
, Guitar
Guest Artist: Harry Allen on Saxophone

Produced by Stratta/Philips Productions
Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta

Steve Weinrebe, Pedro Giraudo, Pablo Ziegler, Claudio Ragazzi
Photo Courtesy by Roberta Zlokower

photo courtesy by Steve WeinrebePablo Ziegler, often reviewed both on RobertaOnTheArts web site and in the Argentine Tango column of ExploreDance.com, gets better every year. This Stratta-Philips Production, as always, brought Pat Philips onstage for the introductions and welcomes. This bit of personal touch goes a long way in a Jazz Club, where much is often left to the imagination. Each night of this year's Tango Meets Jazz series at the Standard brought out different guest artists. photo courtesy by Steve WeinrebeI was lucky tonight to see Harry Allen in his first experience with tango and with the bandoneón, expertly played again by Hector del Curto, a member of Ziegler's band. Ziegler was also joined by his regular guitarist, Claudio Ragazzi, but his bassist, Pablo Aslan, was still in Argentina, due to an airlines strike, and Pedro Giraudo filled the spot extremely well, as Giraudo is a seasoned specialist in Piazzolla and the Ziegler genre.

When I and my guests arrived at the Standard, Ziegler was at the end of the first set and already warmed up. The driven opening, by the quartet, was edgy, with Ragazzi in the lead. Ziegler's Milonga en el Viento included passages like a creeping cat, slow, sexy, and repetitious. Giraudo's echoing bass exuded emotional strength, followed by flourishes on Ragazzi's guitar. Pieces from Ziegler's Grammy winning CD, Bajo Cero, included rhapsodic, melodic, and danceable (tango) riffs. Another work performed early in the set was Ziegler's La Fundicion. The next piece was abstract with piano embellishments, rapid fingering, and a staccato, rhythmic bandoneón, with Ziegler and del Curto mastering the moment.

photo courtesy by Steve Weinrebephoto courtesy by Steve WeinrebeHarry Allen soon appeared with his soulful sax, and this versatile performer was right in the swing of things with this tantalizing tango genre. Piazzolla's Michelangelo 70 never sounded so good. When Allen brought forth a sax solo, with mid-note shifts of key, in Piazzolla's Chin-Chin, photo courtesy by Steve Weinrebethe band further enhanced the mood for magical finales. Allen's saxophone crept like sliding tango legs, and Ziegler looked thrilled. Piazzolla's Libertango was next, and Ziegler seized the moment with driven keyboard force and intensity of mood.

The final and very late set began again with the quartet, with del Curto's dynamic and atonal improvisations. Ragazzi took a unique solo, as well, and the band breathed fire. Fundicion, repeated here, was even more electric and energized, if that's possible. Ziegler's Milonga del Adios, from Bajo Cero, generated elongated, exhaling chords from del Curto's passionate bandoneón. Piazzolla's La Muerte del Angel was soon followed by La Cumparsita, a traditional tango, here played with wild intensity and seasoned abandon. Michelangelo 70, once again, was merged into the older tango motif.

With Harry Allen onstage, La Rayuela, meaning hopscotch, a Ziegler composition from Bajo Cero (a rapid Milonga with faster, upbeat rhythms), the searing sax followed the soaring bandoneón, plus novel piano trills. At this point, I closed my notebook to absorb the mesmerizing magic and mood of this virtuosic piano quartet and sensational saxophonist, all of whom played together as one.

Harry Allen & Hector Del Curto - Photo Courtesy by Roberta Zlokower

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Publishing Date: 02/04/2006

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