October 19, 2007

Quasimodo Trio in Amsterdam

October 19, the trio played in the beautiful theatre of the Tropical Institute in Amsterdam (with a guest piano player).
At first, I was a bit afraid a trio could hardly keep my attention, being more used to go to concerts of the bigger bands that play tango violently. And during the first songs they indeed lost me a bit. The music was complicated, but gradually, during the first set, these seriously playing young men won my sympathy. What I definatly liked is surprising new, delicate compositions and arrangements or mixes of know stuff, and not hearing the same old covers that most groups seem to endlessly want to repeat.
In the break a few people left, saying: this isn't Tango. A young argentinean tangodancer and musician agreed it wasn't, claiming that also Astor Piazzolla composed music that wasn't really tango either. He said: 'I look at tangomusic as a dancer. I need to want to dance on it'. Speaking for myself, when I did let go of that idea, I enjoyed the concert a lot more. I closed my eyes and let them take me by the hand and lead me through a neighbourhood like one I know a bit, San Telmo in Buenos Aires, and show me the streets and alleys I hadn't yet seen before. We go left, we go right and I enjoy the tour. Is it Tango? I'd say, it's music with Tango roots and other influences, exactly what the boys claimed it is, at the beginning of the concert. Supporting this mix is Eduardo Ritacco, writing at www.abctango.com:
They (the young people) do it their own way, with a seal of their own, mixing Piazzolla with the primitive bands with flute and guitar, deconstructing it a bit and also respecting another bit. Maybe that is why it is now again a phenomenon of the most powerful years, the resurrection of tango may be more real than ever."

A dutch lady tango dancer who normally lives in Buenos Aires, where she 'bathes' in Tango whenever she wants, said she enjoyed the concert to the fulllest. And in the end, for a good reason, the trio got standing ovations and the audience was asking for 'otras' two times. After the break, there were more 'high energy' peaces, played as such. I thought the jazzy pieces were just lovely, and the surprise song (sorry for spoiling the surprise now), an indigenous rhythm, and a text about a dried out river and a cry for rain, was a welcome introduction of the vocal qualities of the base player. I look forward to future surprises the trio may come up with, and I hope Nicolás does the singing part again. The arrangement of Adios Nonino, mixed with 'Spain' (Chick Corea) and 'Concierto de Aranjuez' pleased me for the biggest part, but the very ending wasn't. There, the 'drama' in the well known Adios Nonino arrangements was replaced by a rush of chords lacking that expression.
With next concerts I would like to experience a clearer 'lead' (thread, theme,...) some times, because now there were parts where I found it difficult to figure out where we were going (appearently I don't want to have to think too much when I listen to music). I wondered if it could be simply be fixed with an adjustment of the volume of the bandoneon, during those moments, or by another 'phrasing' (timing).
During the very 'minimal' pieces, where the bandoneon slowly goes from one chord to the other, I thought even less notes would do the job. The bandoneon can be so dramaticly expressive, with even only one button pushed.

Quasimodo Trio: Daniel Ruggiero (bandoneón), Pedro ... (piano), Nicolás Rainone (double bass)

In the break and after the concert there were plenty of their blue CD's sold. ('Quasimodo trio', 45 minutes, 15 euro).
The trio will work on new recordings and next time they hope to have the result of that with them: their second CD. I'm looking forward to their next visits and concert of the new pieces, 'made in Holland'.

Listen to samples of their music for youself, at their website
Enjoy the music that website opens with. It's a longer energetic piece, than the samples that you find at their music sample page, but those also are worth being taken notice of.