Alejandro Rutty's disk of new music coming out of the tango, The Conscious Sleepwalker (Navona 5870) brings on some fascinating and well-done compositions for saxophone quartet, tango ensemble, chamber ensemble and orchestra. He joins the ranks of some notable others who have worked flirtatiously or extensively with the form, from Stravinsky to Piazzolla. This is music, however, very much on Rutty's own terms.
The Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra, aka A Future of Tango starts things off with some very engaging music. It's modernist-eclectic in the way Frank Zappa's more "serious" compositional work was, in that it draws on the music in the air around the composer and melds it into something personal.
The Conscious Sleepwalker Loops for orchestra at the start seems to veer away from the overt adaptation of the tango form to focus on a kind of symphonic poem of distinct interest, but even here the tango melodic-rhythmic feel makes itself known sooner or later.
The rest of the program continues to unveil Rutty's unique stylistic amalgam with various configurations from sax quartet to large chamber ensemble.
At no point do you feel like this is music of a derivative sort. Rutty has his own way which is neither avant garde nor strictly tied to tango. His music has a logic and charm all of its own and it captures the ear throughout. Recommended.