By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
The Austin Piazzolla Quintet, the nuevo tango ensemble from Austin, Texas, that has mesmerized its audiences at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in years past, will return to Pagosa to bring its tango magic on Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m.
This group of outstanding professional musicians has once again included Pagosa Springs on its Colorado tour, providing our community with a unique opportunity to hear the music of Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla, as well as other delightful nuevo tango compositions by members of the group.
The concert will be held at 7 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15 each.
Founded by James Anderson (violin), the Austin Piazzolla Quintet has been performing to captivated audiences since 2009. The ensemble includes Jonathan Geer (piano), Mike Maddux (accordion, bandoneon), Tony Rogers (cello) and Pat Harris (bass), all from diverse musical backgrounds. These talented artists receive rave reviews everywhere they go:
“One of the foremost tango ensembles in the country.” — Dazzle Jazz, Denver.
“Nuevo Tango from the quintet runs a blood red … Sublime … 3 stars.” — Austin Chronicle.
“No. 1 Can’t Miss Act” — 2012 Houston International Festival.” — KHOU, Houston.
“World class artistic music.” — Jazz Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y.
“Tango at its BEST.” — Carmen’s de la Calle, San Antonio.
Nuevo tango, a revolutionary style of tango developed by Piazzolla (1921-1992), incorporates elements of jazz and classical music into the traditional tango style. Piazzolla was an accomplished bandoneon player, an instrument that is essential to tango music. The bandoneon is a type of concertina and is played by holding it between both hands while using pushing and pulling motions to force air through its bellows. The air is routed through reeds by pressing its buttons.
Piazzolla’s classical training, along with his fascination with jazz and other experimental musical forms, were incorporated into his nuevo tango (or new tango) compositions. These tangos were not always popular among the traditional Argentinean tango aficionados in his own country, but became wildly popular in the United States and other western countries, especially among classical and jazz audiences. In 1992, American music critic Stephen Holden described Piazzolla as “the world’s foremost composer of tango music.”
The Austin Piazzolla Quintet released its first album, “Libertango” (2010), to rave reviews and sold-out performances in Texas, including a spot on the main stage at the Houston International Festival. The following album, “Lo Que Vendra” (2013) allowed the quintet the opportunity to begin touring and performing in some of the finest listening rooms, jazz clubs and performance halls in the nation. The group has since added two more albums to its list: “Angels and Devils” and “APQ.”
“We are very excited to have this group return for their third performance in Pagosa Springs and are honored that they once again have chosen St. Patrick’s for their venue,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “It is our pleasure and privilege to continue to bring first-class musical listening opportunities to the community. We hope to have a full house at this concert, so make your plans to come and arrive a little early to secure a seat. I can promise you, you will not hear many concerts this year that will top this.”
The Austin Piazzolla Quintet is a not-to-be-missed musical experience. These classically trained performers engage their audience in a way that it may seem as if their music was chosen just for you. Be prepared to be amazed and completely thrilled to be in their presence. You won’t want the concert to end. Let’s tango.
By Sally Neel