The Mango Bal­loon Vol­ume 3

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

Ju­lian Cur­win

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.

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