Serrano Hot

Sizzling new releases from the Latin district of World Beat

The accordion is a very different animal in the hands of Astor Piazzola. Actually, he played the bandoneon, the accordion's wicked cousin. He used it to reinvent the tango, much to the dismay of those who loved (and played) the old music, who tried to kill him for his innovations (seriously). The master is gone now for good, though not at the hands of jealous and conservative folk musicians. His last concert with the New Tango Sex-tet has been released by Hemisphere with the title Luna, and I expect it to be the best recording I hear this year. Caught up in the spell of Piazzola's genius and the masterfully responsive band he built around himself, following every note with admiration and joy, I am torn between lamenting a master who died while still in full possession of his powers and being grateful that such a mature performance was documented so immaculately. Luna has become one of those rare pieces of music that spontaneously plays itself inside my head without getting on my nerves. I am being subjective in my remarks because the dazzling and bizarre dance of Piazzola in tandem with the New Tango Sex-tet beggars my capacity for analysis. Imagine every emotion--orgasm, amazement, hilarity, suicidal despair--interpreted on the keys of an accordion.

Imagine the tango played by Tom Waits' dream pit orchestra with God almighty on the squeezebox. Or just shut me up and buy this recording.

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