Jazz Tango Fusion is indeed the name of this terrific album, and it’s also a fitting description of its creator Julio Botti. Born in the Cordoba region of Argentina, Botti began playing the saxophone at an early age, eventually moving to the United States in 1998, where he studied with the likes of Donny McCaslin. Throughout his impressive and itinerant career, he has traveled from Cuba to Spain, learning different art forms and taking his music in new directions. His most storied recording collaborations are with maestro Pablo Ziegler, releasing “Tango Nostalgias” in 2013 (ZOHO ZM 201305) and “Sax to Tango” in 2016 (ZOHO ZM 2016057, both of which earned LATIN GRAMMY nominations for Best Tango Album.
This release showcases Botti’s growth and maturity as an artist, as it juxtaposes compositions from tango masters Astor Piazzolla and Ziegler with Botti’s own signature pieces. The full repertoire presents an edgy, colorful, and thoughtful reimagining of modern tango, moored both to the rhythms and tonalities found in jazz and tango. And that is the charge of Nuevo Tango – to push ahead with the music and explore new avenues with which to take the art. What’s more, this album blends the traditional soundscape of tango with electric guitar, Hammond B3 organ, Fender Rhodes piano and drums, a breath of modernity.
To bring these compositions to life, Botti assembled a remarkable quartet that features him on tenor and soprano saxophone; Andrew Baird on guitar; Eduardo Withrington on keyboards; and Tiago Michelin on drums. Each bandmember sparkles with virtuosity and brilliance.