Astor Piazzolla

Submitted by nonesuch on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 19:06
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Astor Piazzolla’s nuevo tango, which incorporates classical forms and jazz elements into the traditional tango, was so controversial at its advent that Piazzolla had his life threatened on numerous occasions and was even exiled from Argentina. The traditional tango, born out of the bordellos of Buenos Aires in the way that jazz began in New Orleans, had been haunted by its origins for decades. Piazzolla, with his innovative style and desire to legitimize the tango and bring it to a serious musical audience, changed the face of the music forever.

Born in Mar Del Plata, Argentina in 1921, Piazzolla moved to New York with his father at an early age and lived there until 1937. At age nine he was asked by the famed tango singer/composer Carlos Gardel to appear in his movie El Dia Que Me Quieras. Upon his return to Buenos Aires, he learned to play the bandoneón, began arranging for Anibal Troilo’s orchestra (one of the main tango bands of the day), and studied with the composer Alberto Ginastera.

The year 1954 marked a pivotal point in Piazzolla’s career, when he won a scholarship to study composition with the celebrated pedagogue Nadia Boulanger in Paris. It was Boulanger who encouraged Piazzolla to develop the popular music of his heritage, to make tango a serious music. In 1955 he organized his Octeto Buenos Aires, after his studies with Boulanger and an encounter with Gerry Mulligan’s Octet. It signified the beginning of what came to be known as nuevo tango.

 Other ensembles followed, including Piazzolla’s first quintet, which worked together from 1960 to 1970. The New Tango Quintet, convened in 1978, was in a class by itself. When Tango: Zero Hour was released, the ensemble had spent nearly 10 years together and Piazzolla was at the peak of his powers. SPIN magazine called Tango: Zero Hour “extraordinary,” and The Village Voice called Piazzolla “a modern master.” Jon Pareles of the New York Times said, “To hear Mr. Piazzolla’s tangos as musical marvels is beside the point. As edgy lines and long-breathed tunes defy and embrace one another, the tangos suggest that even in the modern world, romance survives.”

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Latest Release

  • May 6, 2022

    This box set includes three albums from the great Argentine composer, bandleader, and bandoneón player Astor Piazzolla originally released by American Clavé Records in the 1980s later reissued by Nonesuch. Astor Piazzolla: The American Clavé Recordings marks the first time this landmark trio of albums—Tango: Zero Hour, La Camorra, and The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado)—is available as a set, now remastered, and the first time the albums have been available on vinyl since their initial American Clavé release. The set features original and new notes by the albums’ producer and American Clavé founder Kip Hanrahan and an essay from journalist Fernando González. Uncut exclaims: "On its own, each album makes a fine introduction to Piazzolla’s music, but together, they comprise a monumental contribution to world music."

News

  • March 11, 2022

    Nonesuch Records will release a three-LP/three-CD box set of albums from the great Argentine composer, bandleader, and bandoneón player Astor Piazzolla—originally released by American Clavé Records in the 1980s and reissued by Nonesuch more than two decades ago—on May 6, 2022. Astor Piazzolla: The American Clavé Recordings marks the first time this landmark trio of albums—Tango: Zero Hour, La Camorra: The Solitude of Passionate Provocation, and The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado)—is being issued as a set, now remastered, and is the first time the albums have been available on vinyl since their initial release on American Clavé. The set’s liner notes include original and new notes by the albums’ producer and American Clavé founder Kip Hanrahan and an essay from journalist Fernando González, who translated and annotated Piazzolla’s memoirs and wrote liner notes for four of his albums.

  • May 6, 2022

    A three-LP/CD box set of albums from the great Argentine composer, bandleader, and bandoneón player Astor Piazzolla originally released by American Clavé Records in the 1980s later reissued by Nonesuch is out now. Astor Piazzolla: The American Clavé Recordings marks the first time this landmark trio of albums—Tango: Zero Hour, La Camorra, and The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado)—is available as a set, now remastered, and the first time the albums have been available on vinyl since their initial American Clavé release. The set features original and new notes by the albums' producer and American Clavé founder Kip Hanrahan and an essay from journalist Fernando González. Uncut exclaims: "On its own, each album makes a fine introduction to Piazzolla's music, but together, they comprise a monumental contribution to world music."

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About Astor Piazzolla

  • Astor Piazzolla’s nuevo tango, which incorporates classical forms and jazz elements into the traditional tango, was so controversial at its advent that Piazzolla had his life threatened on numerous occasions and was even exiled from Argentina. The traditional tango, born out of the bordellos of Buenos Aires in the way that jazz began in New Orleans, had been haunted by its origins for decades. Piazzolla, with his innovative style and desire to legitimize the tango and bring it to a serious musical audience, changed the face of the music forever.

    Born in Mar Del Plata, Argentina in 1921, Piazzolla moved to New York with his father at an early age and lived there until 1937. At age nine he was asked by the famed tango singer/composer Carlos Gardel to appear in his movie El Dia Que Me Quieras. Upon his return to Buenos Aires, he learned to play the bandoneón, began arranging for Anibal Troilo’s orchestra (one of the main tango bands of the day), and studied with the composer Alberto Ginastera.

    The year 1954 marked a pivotal point in Piazzolla’s career, when he won a scholarship to study composition with the celebrated pedagogue Nadia Boulanger in Paris. It was Boulanger who encouraged Piazzolla to develop the popular music of his heritage, to make tango a serious music. In 1955 he organized his Octeto Buenos Aires, after his studies with Boulanger and an encounter with Gerry Mulligan’s Octet. It signified the beginning of what came to be known as nuevo tango.

     Other ensembles followed, including Piazzolla’s first quintet, which worked together from 1960 to 1970. The New Tango Quintet, convened in 1978, was in a class by itself. When Tango: Zero Hour was released, the ensemble had spent nearly 10 years together and Piazzolla was at the peak of his powers. SPIN magazine called Tango: Zero Hour “extraordinary,” and The Village Voice called Piazzolla “a modern master.” Jon Pareles of the New York Times said, “To hear Mr. Piazzolla’s tangos as musical marvels is beside the point. As edgy lines and long-breathed tunes defy and embrace one another, the tangos suggest that even in the modern world, romance survives.”

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