Recently, at Jazz Standard, (one of the best rooms for jazz in New York) I heard the Eternal Tango Orchestra. A plus is that the music from the enthusiastically carnivorous nation of Argentina was performed under the rib-infested Blue Smoke, a pretty good Bar-B-Q hang.
Based in NY, ETO has been around since 2003, preserving and adding to the orquesta tipica tradition. If you’re like me and cringe at the overthetop dramatics of the dance and swoon when the same passion is applied to the music, this was a wonderful evening. To quote saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, “the perfect balance between precision and delicacy of the chamber music and the passion and expressive power of the popular music of his native Argentina.”
What was nice was hearing a full rich string section with smart orchestration. Along with the bandoneóns of Hector Del Curto and David Hodges were violinists Nick Danielson, Sami Merdinian, Sergio Reyes and Lucia Giraudo, violist Katie Kresek, cellist Jisoo Ok, bassist Pedro Giraudo and Gustavo Casenave on piano.
The orchestra slimmed down to a quintet for some songs, like a slow and sultry milonga, (Late 19th century urban Argentine style from Buenos Aires, referencing the rural gaucho music, and greatly influencing both the tango and Spanish flamenco music ) and was beefed up with the addition of Pablo Ziegler on piano on a few others. The set was too short and too good to be missed.
Bandoneónist Héctor Del Curto, who’s family has been playing tangos professionally since the early 1900s, has 3 CDs. The ARC bought, and loves, the first two listed below :
• Hector Del Curto. Eternal Tango. Green Parrot Records, n.n. 2007
• Tango & All That Jazz (Live). Pablo Ziegler Quartet and Stefon Harris. Kind Of Blue records, KOB 10017, 2007
• Olé!Ché! Beau Bledsoe with guest Hector Del Curto.