Part 18-3, continued: Argentine Tango and Jazz have a lot in common

Lidia and Hector Legrand

So far we’ve reviewed the similarities between Argentine Tango and Jazz from their beginnings in the late nineteenth century to the 1960s.

To read the beginning of Part 18, and Parts 1 through 17 of this series, or if you want to know what’s going on with Argentine Tango in SaddleBrooke, please visit our website

In the ‘70s, the popularity of Argentine Tango continues to decline due to politics and the invasion in the media of music from other regions of the world. Argentine Tango approaches a quasi-cult status being played and danced in commercial establishment basements, neighborhood dance halls and some cafés. The Tango community is limited to a highly creative and artistic elite that incubates musical geniuses such as Astor Piazzolla and his New Tango. Similarly, Classic Traditional Jazz, almost drowned by the likes of Elvis and the Beatles, survives in the form of Jazz Fusion, popular with small combos headed by famous soloists. Jazz Fusion does not become popular enough to outsell rock ‘n roll in concert halls or records.

Digitalized music appears everywhere in the 1980s in the form of CDs, having a tremendous impact on both Jazz and Argentine Tango. Scratchy recordings from prior decades are remastered for the enjoyment of new generations. Vintage music and orchestras of both Jazz and Argentine become popular again. Musical theater shows such as Tango Argentino (1985) and Tango Buenos Aires (1986) became top sellers in Buenos Aires, the U.S. and the rest of the world. Astor Piazzolla and Charlie Parker are now at the vanguard of the renaissance of both genres, followed by many imitators hoping to cash in on their popularity.

In the 1990s and the first decade of the new century, both Argentine Tango and Jazz stay at an even keeled level of popularity. The ease of communications and technology make it possible for musicians from all over the world to become known and appreciated worldwide. Because of the Argentine Tango musicals mentioned in the paragraph about the 80s and two new musicals: Tango Passion (1993) and Forever Tango (1994), Argentine Tango dancing becomes popular in Buenos Aires not only amongst the local residents but by throngs of tourists anxious to be instructed by native teachers.

Final comments:

It is interesting to note that while Argentine Tango has been known by the same name across the decades, Jazz has been popular as Dixieland, Fox-trot, Swing, Progressive, Be-bop, Cool, Acid and many other denominations.

Both genres have superior artistic value. Operas have been composed based on Jazz and Tango. Argentine Tango and Jazz are here to stay forever.

About the authors: 2015 is Lidia and Hector’s twelfth year as SaddleBrooke Argentine Tango Dance Instructors of both group and private students. They have been teaching Argentine Tango dancing for seventeen years. They also offer seminars and workshops on Argentine Tango Music, History, Culture and Cuisine. Please visit their website