For years, the French accordionist Vincent Peirani resisted playing tango. Why would a modernist like himself venture down a predictable road? Now, with Abrazo, he not only embraces the tango, but puts his own squeeze on the tradition too.
On this episode of The Checkout — which we also roll out as a concert film — Peirani and soprano saxophonist Émile Parisien take on unconventional tangos by Xavier Cugat and Jelly Roll Morton, and another tune from the nuevo tango pioneer Astor Piazzolla. Their Piazzolla cover, “Deus Xango,” was inspired by two outstanding, left-of-center jazz recordings made in the mid -1970s: Astor Piazzolla and Gerry Mulligan with a chamber orchestra; and a jazz fusion recording featuring Piazzolla with Larry Coryell, Joachim Kühn, and Philip Catherine.
Peirani and Parisien have been making music together for almost a decade. Abrazo is the duo’s follow-up to their recording Belle Epoque on ACT. Both albums emphasize playful and spontaneous interplay, inspired by another French power accordion-and-reed duo, Richard Galliano and Michel Portal.