Ziegler's imagination in working jazz into the tango framework is impressive in scope. He builds on the harmonic complexity of Piazzolla's lines, adding the extended harmonies of bebop. He carves out space within the structure of the classic tango, adding long piano excursions at the ends of musical phrases, or free introductions or interludes. And Ziegler reverses the roles of piano and bandoneón: in Piazzolla's quintet the bandoneón was the lead and the piano the rhythmic supporter, while with Ziegler it is the bandoneón that maintains the link with tango's classic rhythms and moods while Ziegler's piano pushes at the boundaries of form.
Ziegler's marriage of jazz and tango may be as royal as the classical-tango one at which Piazzolla officiated. And there's going to be one more musical marriage to celebrate when Ziegler comes to Rackham Auditorium on Friday, March 30. The flexibility of his style makes it ideally suited to collaboration, and he has worked with musicians ranging from Argentine jazz guitarist Quique Sinesi to classical pianist Emanuel Ax. The Rackham show will feature Claudia Acuña, the charismatic young Chilean jazz singer whose repertoire ranges from Latin jazz to boppish interpretations of American standards. The potential meeting of the minds is exciting indeed, as is the way the pulsing heart of the tango continues to push out its rich liquid into the world's musical arteries.
[Review published March 2007]