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CD Review: Adokin & Cesar Olguin

Gustavo Gregorio - Bossa Basses, Vocal, Arranger-Conductor
Yumiko Murakami - Piano
Hirofumi Okamoto - Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Kana Hiramatsu - Violin
Cesar Olguin - Bandoneon
Tomohiro Yahiro - Percussion
Christian Rover - Electric Guitar
Yuki Saga - Vocals


Yumiko Murakami: Mate para mi, vino para vos
Charlie Parker: Donna Lee
Gustavo Gregorio: Tangostinato
Gustavo Gregorio: Amanecer Naranja
Gustavo Gregorio: Milonguite
G. Matos Rodriguez: La Cumparsita
G. Gregorio-Estrella Acosta: Tangostrellado

total time: 42 min. 12 seconds
released: 1997
review date: October 1999

label: Adokin and Liao Records

Review by Robert Karl Berta :

What an unusual recording this is. The group is captured in a performance at Minoya Hall in Osaka, Japan in 1997. The music is Argentine Tango or perhaps more accurately, based on the Tango. In the tradition of Astor Piazzolla they have taken liberties with the Tango and the instrumentation to achieve something a little different than what you may expect from a group performing Tango music. As they describe it they are crossing the bridge to reach the remote islands of Tango Land. The musicians are all most competent and the arrangements are most interesting. The best description I can make of these tracks is "Tango meets Fusion Jazz with a bit of Alternative Music tossed in for effect." Does it work? Well, mostly it does but it will force the listener to make great demands on their listening. For those who enjoy breaking new ground this CD will delight. There isn't a track on here that could be deemed to be "ordinary."

The track, Amanecer Naranja, perhaps asks the most of the listener. Unusual and interesting overlaps of sound take you on assorted side routes. The music seems to be a bit confusing at first because many of the musical themes don't resolve. Vocal tracks are juxtaposed with crashing piano licks while counterpoint by the bandoneon builds to a climax. Then a nice string bridge leads back to a different theme. Then more crashing piano. The bandoneon duels with the violin and the piano switches to a sweet, slow bluesy effect. But then back to the strong crashing chords of the piano and bandoneon! It all makes sense at the end but what a trip!

I particularly enjoyed the track Milonguite which is a little more traditional taste of Tango. The only one which didn't fit in with the others was La Cumparsita. The treatment of this well-worn favorite didn't really impress me as something new.

Sound-wise this is an excellent recording. Good miking and mixing make for a fine recording. I recommend it as a fine recording with the bandoneon fitting in as a part of the instrument mix but not as the featured instrument. All too often accordions "hog" the limelight as if to try to assert that they too are a "real" instrument. Here instead the bandoneon is shown as a tasteful addition to the mix that utilizes its unique sound and characteristics to good effect.

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