Review by Kurt Keefner
This powerful concert was recorded live in New York City on September 6, 1987. Piazzolla was playing with his best ensemble: a quintet consisting of himself on bandoneon, Pablo Ziegler on piano, Fernando Suarez Paz on violin, Horacio Malvicino on electric guitar, and Hector Console on bass. Piazzolla plays some of his finest material — about half of Tango: Zero Hour surfaces, for example. Two of the most paradigmatic Piazzolla pieces show up too: "La Camorra," with its alternating moments of tense dance rhythms and creepy atmosphere, and "Verano Porteño," with its dancing-bear rhythms. The concert closes with "Concierto Para Quinteto," one of those long pieces that Piazzolla favored that visits many styles and moods — almost many eras. It would be very easy to lose the thread on such an epic composition in live performance, but the quintet keeps it together admirably. The live recording is of surprisingly high quality; there is an appropriate echo and the balance is nearly perfect. The audience is completely unobtrusive — inaudible except when they applaud. And the instruments are very clear, especially when the musicians coax those "zings" and "pops" out of them that Piazzolla loved. For someone new to his work, the "special effects" on this recording can be a revelation. There is also a wonderful spoken track, with Piazzolla talking about himself, the tango, and the mysterious bandoneon. This album is a wonderful place to start — or finish — with this charismatic composer of nuevo tango music.