Rutty’s shot in the arm differs dramatically from anything that has been done for the tango by anyone from Piazzolla through Aslan and others. First off the re-constructions of his masterly architecture reaches deep into the roots of the tango…
It might seem impossible to tell what turn the future of tango will take; how the passion, grace and fire of this art form may be expressed in the future. No one can tell, just as no one could have imagined how brilliantly it was re-invented by Astor Piazzolla, with Nuevo tango and the fresh swagger that filled the dance and music that traced its roots to the Afro-European tango criollo. Piazzolla tried in the 50s to take the tango right to the heart of the swing of jazz, but he himself declared his critical experiments a failure. This was the state of the art for decades until the ingenious Argentinean-born, New York bassist and musician Pablo Aslan made amends with his magnificent Piazzolla in Brooklyn (Soundbrush, 2012) , which not only salvaged the pride of the great bandoneon maestro, but the seemingly flagging art form itself. While all this happened, another spectacular Argentinean-born Greensboro, NC-based composer and musician, Alejandro Rutty appears to have given new pride to the fiery ache of this magnificent form of dance and music with his tango variations on The Conscious Sleepwalker.
Rutty’s shot in the arm differs dramatically from anything that has been done for the tango by anyone from Piazzolla through Aslan and others. First off the re-constructions of his masterly architecture reaches deep into the roots of the tango—the original tango criollo–suggesting the colorful origins of this art, from the extraordinary rhythms of Africa to the sweeping cut and thrust, and swirls of the 2/2 and 4/4 music that was adopted in the dancehalls of Europe; then exported to those in Argentina and Uruguay. Of course, being Argentinean, Rutty focusses on what comes from Argentina, using both the original and Piazzolla’s re-inventions as his skittering runway, for that is where it begins—and ends.
Rutty re-emerges with his tango in the late 21st Century using faux-electronics played by traditional instruments such as the horn, trumpet, oboe, bassoon, saxophones, trombone and strings to create his re-imaginations of tango in “A Future of Tango” a three-part concerto that begins in the year 2040 and ends later than 2098, on the fiery red landscape of Mars. This is a fabulous—both in terms of myth and reality—re-invention and unlike anything that others might have attempted, pits saxophones against the orchestra as the passion of the imaginary dancers is explored and narrated as they sweep across a virtual dance floor. Interestingly the saxophones replace the principal instrument of the tango, the bandoneon, both in this piece for large ensemble as well as on “Hyperlinks from Tango Loops 1 and 2,” which is brilliantly rendered by a different saxophone quartet, the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet. The hot airy breath of the complete frequency range—from soprano to baritone—fills the air from earth to sky and in body and soul, with the aching beauty of this great art throughout both imaginations.
The “Tango Loops” are further explored with 14 and 18 players imitating electronica, and other idioms that have never been part of the tango art before and here. It is here in an imaginary future setting of electronica that Rutty shows not only ingenuity in the tone, color and shade, as well as the timbre of brass and strings, but also in sublime imagination and creativity. Moreover there is a side to the composer that is rarely seen: his puckish humor. This is displayed not only in the re-imagination of the tango, but also in the playful depiction of the idiomatic use of rock and electronica within a completely authentic use of the classical metaphor. Such ingenuity as well as the passionate ache of the music that its fiery beauty echoes deep in the heart long after the last notes has faded away.
Tracks: Tracks: A Future of Tango: Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra: Part I – Year 2040 Mind Transfer Tango: Part II – Year 2098 Wartime Tango: Part III – I’m A Martian Transfobeat (Milongo); The Conscious Sleepwalker – Loops for orchestra; Hyperlinks, from Tango Loops 2 for saxophone quartet; Hyperlinks, from Tango Loops 1 for saxophone quartet; Tango Loops 2C for 18 Players; Tango Loops 1 for 14 instruments and tango quartet.
Personnel: Cuarteto de Saxofones 4mil: Emiliano Barri: soprano saxophone(1); Fernando Rosa: alto saxophone (1); Alejandro Bidegain: tenor saxophone (1); Pablo Mosterin: baritone saxophone (1); Mayan City Sinfonetta /Alejandro Rutty, conductor (1, 7); Tadeo Coelho: flute(1); Carla Burns: flute (1); Joanne Grigoriev: flute (7); Ashley Barrett: oboe (1); Rene Prins: oboe (7); Anthony Taylor: clarinet( 1); Kelly Burke: clarinet(1); Andrew Phillips: French horn(1); Lisa DeSavino: horn (7); Ben Alridge: trumpet (7); Paul Blake: trombone (7); Lynn Hileman: bassoon (7); Marjorie Bagley: violin (1); Fabian Lopez: violin (1); Shieh Jian: violin (7); Antoine Lefevre: violin (7); Scott Rawls: viola (1); Janz Costelo: viola (7); Alexander Ezerman: cello (1); Mary Artman: cello (7); Keith Miller: bass (1); Edmond Gnekow: bass (7); Inara Zandermane: piano (1); Kim Patterson: piano (7); Kris Keeton: percussion (1); Kevin Estes: percussion (1); Michael Lichtenberger: percussion (7); Maravian Philharmonic Orchestra/Petr Vronsky, conductor (2); Red Clay Saxophone Quartet: Susan Fancher: soprano saxophone (5, 6); Robert Faub: alto saxophone; Steve Stusek: tenor saxophone (5, 6); Mark Engerbretson: baritone saxophone (5, 6); Kiev Philharmonic/Robert Ian Wistan, conductor.
Alejandro Rutty – Website: www.alejandrorutty.com/
Label: Navona Records
Release date: March 2012
Reviewed by: Raul da Gama