Tango is far from just an evening thing, though it was said that Music in the Morning's opening concert on Tuesday, Jan. 12, was the visiting Argentine harmonica player Franco Luciani's first morning ever, and he needed a cup of strong coffee.
Tango Reunion was just that. Two years ago at Festival Vancouver, pianist Linda Lee Thomas, bassist Miles Foxx Hill and Luciani were thrown together as a substitute when Ed Henderson, the guitarist of Thomas's trio Tangissimo, couldn't make it. It was a hit of the festival and the place erupted when they were finished.
It was the same thing on Tuesday.
An older crowd couldn't get enough of an hour of tango magic that passed so quickly it seemed like warp speed. They played tangos by Astor Piazzolla, Anibal Troilo, Julian Plaza and others. What might have grabbed you straight off was the amazing dexterity of the young Luciani, who, throwing his whole body into his reedy instrument, played with the fire and precision of a skilled bandoneonist, and the range of his color was incredible, from locomotive-like chuffs to impossibly high and exposed upper notes that were sounded with the most precise delicacy.
Thomas, invaluable as a charmingly witty commentator, took a back seat but not if you listened carefully. This woman is a national treasure. I can still hear her one piano solo, which combined Rachmaninov and Chopin into an expression that was pure Argentina. And Oblivión is still with me.
As Thomas said, "But then everybody in Argentina is depressed." Long live this kind of depression.
Music in the Morning website