Café Banlieue – tango à trois – Farao vinyl

by | Feb 5, 2014 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Café Banlieue – tango à trois [TrackList follows] – Farao 180g vinyl V 107301, 47:37 [Distr. by Naxos] *****:

Even if this wasn’t great music, the album would be a steal for most audiophiles: Though not promoted as an audiophile vinyl release, it comes from Germany, is DMM mastered and is a 180 gram pressing. And it’s only about $14 online!

But it is terrific: a classical string trio of violin, cello and piano playing their own arrangements of various tango-flavored numbers, most of them originals. It doesn’t clearly say where the Cafe Banlieue—where the three got together and play regularly—actually is, but I would guess somewhere in Bavaria since the violinist is the concertmaster of the Bavarian State Orchestra and the cellist is the principal cellist there. Pianist-composer-arranger Peter Ludwig is the third member, who founded the ensemble. He is also known as an improviser and pianist for silent films. His unique arrangements mix the soulful tango with cool jazz, bossa nova and classical chamber music. He’s been a tango addict for over 30 years and these pieces are in his very own style.

The recording was made in 2006; don’t know why the delay in its release.  Ludwig’s notes poetically describe the scene in the Cafe Banlieue where the trio performs.  Rabid tango fans may not like this stuff because there are no bandoneons or string basses in evidence (and no vocals), but I think the trio does a better job of creating a wonderful tango environment than that of many other recordings put out by instrumentalists not part of the true tango quintet instrumentation.  And the sonics are great.


1 E
2 Hawai
3 Café Banlieue
4 Dezember Tango
5 L’après-midi
6 Smalls
7 Just a dream
8 A.G. Mius
9 Reims rouge
10 Milonga
11 Barbara Bossa
12 Le Petit
13 La Belge
14 Lisboa 

—John Henry

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