Astor Piazzolla at 100
Astor Piazzolla, born on March 11, 1921, wrote and performed some of the most affecting music of the 20th Century — rooted in the tango tradition but expanded and renewed by elements from European classical music, klezmer and jazz. As a result, what was once dance music in Buenos Aires has become, reimagined by Piazzolla, part of the repertoire of chamber groups and symphonic orchestras around the world.
That's Not Tango: Astor Piazzolla, a Life in Music is a "musical biography" written by Lesley Karsten and Stephen Wadsworth. The production features Karsten as Piazzolla, reminiscing on his life and music against live accompaniment by master musicians in the style: JP Jofre on bandoneón, Nick Danielson on violin, Brandt Frederiksen on piano and Pablo Aslan on bass.
In 2019, before That's Not Tango was presented at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the ensemble paid a visit to Morning Jazz at WBGO. Karsten talked about the genesis of the production and the lasting beauty of Piazzolla's music — and we heard selections from the show, performed in our studio.