Sergio & Odair Assad
Sergio & Odair Assad
2008 Latin Grammy Award Winner
...The Brazilian guitar duo of Sérgio and Odair Assad are known to aficionados as players of astonishing virtuosity and enormous soul—two qualities which serve them well in the complex, yet emotionally direct, music of Argentinean nuevo tango master Astor Piazzolla.
Best known for revolutionizing the world of Tango, Astor Piazzolla was a composer and performer of great scope and acclaim. After political and musical friction in Argentina, Piazzolla’s style was ultimately welcomed in Europe and North America by liberal ears, and he is now credited as being the forefather of the contemporary Tango movement.
So it goes unquestioned as to why the Assad Brothers chose to honor Piazzolla in their unpretentiously titled Sergio & Odair Assad Play Piazzolla — not merely for being a partner in their history of performances and a great inspiration for their repertoire, but also for his importance to the world of el Nuevo Tango, or The New Tango.
Sergio and Odair Assad began their career as teenage brothers practicing and composing classical pieces in their hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil. And like the true prodigies they were, they soon began practicing under the guidance of Monina Tavora. The product of such a childhood has since established a niche genre in the world of classical guitar: the two-piece. Brothers of both parents and music, their playing mimics that of their biological brotherhood, a style that closes the gap between their two guitars instead of creating contrasting calls-and-responses. Indeed, the brothers sound like one guitarist, a lucrative blend of rhythms and patterns that no longer leap off individual guitars, but instead come from their musical coalescence.
Of course, the Assad Brothers are asserting the genius of Piazzolla above all else on this record. And perhaps they are just the two to do it — they have, after all, collaborated countless times with Piazzolla during the guitarists’ lives — with their excellent renderings of his most sought-after (as well as obscure) career pieces. Strewn across the album lie some extraneous instrumental accompaniment as well, purposeful supplementations to the classic compositions the record references. But most striking is the retainment of the most important Tango trait: an urgency for expression.
Dissonance, excitement — every characteristic of Piazzolla’s music is found here, played under the precise sensibilities of the Assad Brothers’ classical guitar. (The guitars’ plurality is that elusive!) As it is with all of the Assad’s Brothers’ playing, this record tugs at the nostalgic emotions of el Nuevo Tango with new breath and an unmatched respect for Piazzolla — a collection of praise and celebration that will be remembered and replayed well into Tango’s future.