Consider the red rose: the fiery hue, the intoxicating scent, the perilous thorns. It's the perfect symbol for Argentina's hot-blooded tango, an indigenous music and dance style that revels in the passion and sorrow of the heart. That such a romantic genre has found an enthusiastic audience in San Francisco is a testament to our windswept city's lust for life. On its second CD, named after the now-defunct Mission cafe where the quartet got its start in 1998, Tango No. 9 celebrates the art form's roots with evocative cover tunes dating from the first half of the 20th century. Imbued with grand dramatic gestures weepy melodies, strapping rhythms, sweeping crescendos the songs are black-and-white celluloid nostalgic, while the band's instrumental combo of violin, piano, trombone, and accordion couples chamber music intimacy with jazz-band punch. The sum effect? A provocative, enlivening sound that's good steamy fun.
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