i compani & strings

Last Tango in Paris (The Music of Gato Barbieri)
icdisc.nl 10-02

By Ken Waxman

Specializing in re-interpretations of classic movie scores such as those by Nino Rota, the six-piece i company band from the Netherlands adds a three-piece string section to its version of Argentinean saxophonist Gato Barbieri’s greatest hit, the soundtrack to Last Tango in Paris. The result is a highpoint in the career of the 25-year-old group led by tenor and soprano saxophonist Bo van de Graaf.

It seems only logical that themes composed by one saxophonist would strike a chord with a band led by another, but credit must also go to arranger Loek Dikker and the soloists. Throughout, the familiar music is not only tweaked with passages from bandoneon player Michel Mulder’s fluttery button-pushing, trumpeter Joroen Doomernik’s tongue-stopping bites and Saartje Van Camp’s mournful cello obbligato, but also intermixed with recorded dialogue from the film itself.

Van de Graaf, whose exaggerated tenor elaborations barely skirt the boudoir saxophone style of Sam “The Man” Taylor, is an overriding presence throughout. His alternately sensuous and screechy tone is showcased best in successive variants on the Last Tango theme, where he faces combinations of syncopated, spiccato strings, stratospheric brass textures and key fanning from pianist Christian Mac-Carty. He also exhibits his high-gloss writing chops in the CD’s final section. Concentrating on the variants available when two violinist and a cellist are added to a jazz combo, his often stop-time pieces integrate guitar-like strums and sul tasto sweeps from the string section, Latin shuffles from drummer Yonga Sun and Mac-Carty’s kinetic key fanning. The spirited end result is connective yet staccato, suggesting the timbres of an even larger ensemble.

Tracks: Last Tango in Paris main theme*; Jeanne - waltz*; Why did she choose you?+; No Tango 1*; Door; No Tango 2+; It's Over+; Last Tango # Ballroom*; Last Tango # Jazz*; Last Tango # Runaway*; Last Tango # final+; Tango per Nubi+; Tango for M.S.+; Camel's Tango+; Impro Ljouwert; Tango Bundarrabil+

Personnel: Jeroen Doomernik: trumpet; Bo van de Graaf: tenor and soprano saxophones;

Michel Mulder: bandoneon; Christoph Mac-Carty: piano; Tessa Zoutendijk and Rik Sturtewagen: violins; Jacqueline Hamelink* or Saartje Van Camp+: cello; Marko Bonarius: bass; Yonga Sun+ or André Groen*: drums

— For All About Jazz New York February 2011