Oct 28 2014
Recommended: Torben Westergaard – “Tangofied II”
On Tangofied II, bassist Torben Westergaard blends two seemingly contradictory influences of Nordic jazz and Argentinean tango. But by deftly finding the commonalities in the folk music inherent to both forms, Westergaard unites the two as one, and what begins as an odd curiosity is transformed into something that comes off as a natural, an almost pragmatic form of expression.
“Waltz Me” leads right out with the ensemble’s blending formula of the two, disparate influences. The fluid grace of tango meshes nicely with a Nordic sensibility, as spurts of motion twist around the calm heart of the song, each leaving the other undisturbed while sounding perpetually in synch. “Don’t Leave Any Thoughts Behind” doesn’t shake the developing trend, shifting between sharp bursts of propulsion and long effortless glides with the same fluid grace as the opening track.
It’s interesting to hear how the Nordic and Argentinean influences adapt to those times when their opposite takes on a stronger role for a particular song. The moody, drifting piece “Minor Me” speaks from the streets of Copenhagen, but guitarist Ernesto Snajer’s guitar works in some sounds of the Rio de la Plata, providing a valuable, intermittent shift in perspective. “Dinamargentina” dishes out the tango cadences, and while the song is dominated by an unqualified exuberance, Westergard slips in passages of a deeper serenity informed by the Nordic influence.
“Chacarera” and “Huayno” illustrate the diversity of Argentinean folk and tango musics. Westergaard’s ensemble embraces the regional traits corresponding to both chacerera and huayno while sticking to the album’s winning formula. The guest vocal on “Året Rundt” allows Westergaard to mute the predominant influences on this album and simply craft a pretty song for the ensemble members, comprised of both Danish and Argentinean musicians, to just let their musicianship flow.
A curious album with a curious sound that reveals the facets to its beauty slowly, patiently, and fully over time.
Your album personnel: Torben Westergaard (bass), Ida Nørholm (cello), Anders Banke (bass clarinet), Alejandro Sancho (guitar), Ernesto Snajer (guitar), and guests: Mariano “Tiki” Cantero (percussion, voice), Victor Carrion (quena, sikus), Jacob Andersen (percussion), Adi Zukanovic (sonics), and Andrea Pellegrini (vocal).
The album is Self-Produced.
Jazz from the Copenhagen scene.
It appears that the only traditional retail outlet is iTunes, but the download is available at 7Digital for those of you who shop there. The CD is available at Gateway Music and directly from the artist’s site. Westergaard offers to sign the CD if you buy direct.
Some other stuff you should probably know:
If you like the whole Nordic Jazz – tango fusion thing, you should probably also check out Line Kruse’s Dancing On Air. Released in 2013, it has a similar approach but a different sound than Westergaard’s. Go check out the recommendation Here, on Bird is the Worm.
October 29, 2014 @ 9:21 pm
Hi Dave, love this album and thanks for bringing it to our attention.
I’m writing because I can offer you some insider information regarding the blend of the seemingly disparate elements of Nordic and Argentinian Music.
I can’t speak for all the nations of Scandinavia and the Nordic lands but, as my second ex-wife comes from Finland, I do know that the Finnish people have a very strong love for the Tango.
In fact many of them regard Tango as the national music of Finland, something about its melancholy passion I suppose speaks directly to the Finnish soul.
Perhaps the music was brought back home by merchant sailors traveling to South America who may have stowed away the odd accordion or fiddle on their voyages.
The Tango songs they sing and dance to at the great Tango festivals are in their native tongue, rather than Spanish, and many villages crown a Tango King and Queen so this music is really woven into the fabric of society.
I also found an interesting article about Finnish Tango in the NY Times if you would like to read more.
All the very best to you.
October 29, 2014 @ 11:40 pm
Hey, Noel. I’m looking forward to checking that article out.
I’m unsurprised to hear about the affection for Tango. The way the two influences join together so easily has been an illuminating observation for me, personally.