The Mango Balloon Volume 3
Romero/Newmarket VOLUME three of Sydney guitarist Julian Curwin’s the Mango Balloon, a strippedback version of his other band, the Tango Saloon, follows the precedent on volumes 1 and 2 of featuring a special guest. Here it’s violin and viola master Shenzo Gregorio. Musically, the approach is similar to Volume 2, with its strong connection to tango ideas and rhythms, albeit sometimes slightly bent. The collection is redolent of a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon in Buenos Aires. Although billed as containing elements of continental jazz, the style is firmly melodic with few improvised solos. The opener,
Perdita, sets the mood with Curwin’s Latino guitar meandering placidly. Marcello Maio’s accordion leads a waltzing
High Noon — not the movie theme — and Gregorio’s viola sweeps into the theme on
Cloud Town. Curwin’s compositions have a comfortable South American-Spanish familiarity and are all played with capable delicacy, from the filigreed piano lead of Habanera to the oompah-pah tuba and trumpet waltz of Frijoles
Negros or, another waltz, Wake in Flight, featuring a strict tempo accordion. A relaxed version of mariachi trumpet opens White
Elephant followed by what sounds like a Hawaiian steel guitar. By the final track,
Farewell, it’s not hard to envisage a mango balloon floating away to the accompaniment of a soft, chordal guitar and shimmering accordion. This is uncomplicated, accessible, melodic music in a serene Latin approach that will have broad appeal for an easy-listening audience.