Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Astor Piazzolla: The Rough Guide to Astor Piazzolla [World Music Network, 2005]
The tango master cut a lot of pro forma music for Milan, the French soundtrack-electronica-semiclassical outfit that claims to "represent" Piazzolla's "complete catalog" and doesn't come close--his great American Clave albums, for instance, are now with Nonesuch. But the half of this gratifying selection that started on Milan--including "Tanguedia 3" and "Los Sueños," both reprised for American Clave--packs a full measure of dynamic sophistication and high drama, and as Grace Jones or Yo-Yo Ma could tell you, "Libertango" is just where to begin. Concentrating on his mature period--which strictly speaking means 1978 to 1988, although there are three 1975 tracks and one from the '50s--this is as convincing an introduction as Tango: Zero Hour itself. A