Tango No. 9

Radio Valencia

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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