San Francisco, CA
Produced and recorded live at the East Bay’s magnificent Julia Morgan-designed Chapel of the Chimes, critically acclaimed all-star ensemble TANGO NO. 9, released its fourth CD, Live at the Columbarium in July of 2011. The group’s fourth CD features several of Astor Piazzolla’s rarely recorded compositions - ‘Coral’, ‘Novitango’ and ‘El Gordo Triste’ - illustrating a cooler side to the traditionally fiery image of tango while losing none of its rhythmic excitement.
Recorded live with no overdubs at the Chapel of the Chimes, the beautiful Julia Morgan-designed building in the Oakland foothills, the set showcases recent additions to the group's repertoire as well as showing how some older pieces have grown over the past decade. It also serves as a farewell to longtime member, accordionist/bandoneonist Isabel Douglass at the same time as welcoming newest addition, tenor Zoltan DiBartolo.
"We like the paradoxes suggested by the title," explains group pianist Joshua Raoul Brody. ‘The most obvious one is the contrast between the word ‘live’ and the dead souls that abound in the Columbarium building. But it’s not at all a creepy place," Brody insists, "but rather that the souls that inhabit the place are grateful for some lively diversion from their ordinary placid existence. It’s full of natural light reflecting off beautiful white marble, with bird calls echoing down the halls." (Some of those bird calls made it onto the recording!)
That "lively diversion" includes some of tango nuevo maestro Astor Piazzolla's more austere compositions like "Coral", "Novitango" and "El Gordo Triste", demonstrating a cooler side to the fiery image of tango, while losing none of its rhythmic excitement. And Piazzolla's "Revirado", "Contrabajeando", and the more famous "Muerte del Angel" commingle traditional tango elements with classical counterpoint, reflecting his studies with legendary composition coach Nadia Boulanger.
DiBartolo's porkpie hat and martini glass are almost audible in his portrayal of the louche dandy of Anibal Troilo's "La Ultima Curda", while the poignant setting of Piazzolla's setting of Horacio Ferrer's "Chiquilin de Bachin" comes to life in the tenor's tender rendering. And the players flex their instrumental prowess as they revisit Russian composer Oscar Strok's "O These Dark Eyes" and Brody's "Sultango", each of which showcase the intuitive interplay that has grown immensely over their years of collaboration. Trombonist Greg Stephens offers his deft arrangement of the Brecht/Weill standard "There Was A Time", and bandleader Catharine Clune's violin wails over their arrangement of Piazzolla's "Tanguango".
Heat and cool. Departures and arrivals. Life and death. Tango No. 9's new CD, Live at the Columbarium, expresses them all.
Tango No. 9, which began in the Mission District in 1988 as a cover band, has become an all-star Bay Area ensemble (members have played with The Residents, Tom Waits, Club Foot Orchestra, Eric McFadden, Extra Action Marching Band) united in a love for a famously elusive non-native art form. The quartet is Joshua Raoul Brody on piano, Greg Stephens on trombone, bandleader Catharine Clune on violin, and newest addition tenor Zoltan DiBartolo. With its unique instrumentation of violin, trombone, piano, and accordion/bandoneon, Tango No. 9 embraces both a reverence of tango’s seductive past and an innovative vision of the music’s storied future.
Since 1998 when Clubfoot Orchestra veteran Catharine Clune conceived of a new project which would explore the work of composer Astor Piazzolla, the group has delved deeply into the world of tango, playing countless concerts and milongas, collaborating with many of the top dancers on the West Coast, and recording three critically acclaimed albums, the all-Piazzolla album, All Them Cats in Recoleta (lauded by JazzIz Magazine as one of the best modern tango CDs of 2002), 2006’s exploration of early tango, Radio Valencia , and Here Live No Fish , released in 2007. Twelve years and four albums later, Tango No. 9 has evolved into a critically acclaimed ensemble performing at festivals, concert halls, and clubs across the Western U.S.
Release Notes for LIVE AT THE COLUMBARIUM
Catharine Clune - Violin
Isabel Douglass - Accordion + Bandoneon
Greg Stephens - Trombone
Joshua Raoul Brody - Piano
Zoltan DiBartolo - Vocal on La Última Curda & Chiquilín de Bachín
Produced by Catharine Clune & Tango No. 9
Recorded live at the Chapel of the Chimes Columbarium, Crematorium, Mausoleum and Funeral Home in Oakland, California.
Recorded by Eli Crews & John Finkbeiner, with assistance by Carlos Arredondo, June 3 - 4 and Nov 2 - 3, 2009
Edited and mixed by John Finkbeiner at New, Improved Recording, Oakland, Ca, April-May 2011
Mastered at Ken Lee Mastering, May 2011
Released July 19, 2011