Tango No. 9

Tango No. 9


Tango No. 9 is an all-star Bay Area ensemble united in a love for a famously elusive non-native art form. The group has delved deeply into the world of tango, playing countless concerts and milongas, collaborating with top dancers of the west coast, and recording three critically acclaimed albums.



How did it start? Flash back to1998...San Francisco’s Mission District...in the dearly departed café, Radio Valencia, Tango No. 9 began as an Astor Piazzolla “cover band.” Bandleader Catharine Clune, sent away for arrangements from Buenos Aires and Paris over coffee and cigarettes, and then, night after night, began exploring tango with her quartet. With Piazzolla’s driving, complex compositions as a foundation, they began transcribing from recordings, and they took courage from their idol’s revolutionary innovations and freely mixed in improvisation and unusual arrangements, creating their own sound: tango, jazz, chamber...a unique combination of all.

Argentine tango is a music of passion, and Tango No. 9’s interpretations of what some consider a sacrosanct style aroused passionate opinions. People walking by — including some Argentineans — were drawn inside the café. They voiced fiery criticism, argued the validity of Piazzolla as a tango artist, and became ardent fans, returning again and again.

Following the release of Tango No. 9’s first album, All Them Cats in Recoleta, composed almost exclusively of early Piazzolla material, the group looked back and dug even deeper into the history of tango. They studied and learned traditional Argentine tango with a fury and passion befitting the form ... becoming a hot ticket on the popular San Francisco milonga (tango dance party) circuit in no time. Playing at these events, the group took another chapter from the book of tango and, once again, made it their own.
Tango Number 9’s second album, Radio Valencia, is a tribute to the story of tango...a selection traditional tango, from well loved classics to unknown gems, played in the group’s unique style. Tango “standards” are steeped in tradition, yet speak timelessly of passion, nostalgia, and struggle. In addition to falling in love with this repertoire, they found working with dance performers to be another source of inspiration and improvisation. In collaborating with the Bay Area’s best tango dancers, the band learned to play off the intricate improvised footwork and saw the dance partners moved by the emotions of the music.

And, they have discovered a world of tango aficionados who were hungry for such fare provided live.

With the third album, Here Live No Fish, the group no longer felt confined to tango in a single style or from a certain time. The album includes tango standards (a milonga, “Mozo Guapo”, a waltz “Palomita Blanca”), original compositions (“Milonga Campera”, “Sultango”, “Sea of Tranquility”, “Syncopath”), reinterpreted classics from Piazzolla to Prokofiev (“Street Tango”, “Libertango”, “Tim-and-a-Half Gavoote” & “La Cumparsita”), and a guest vocal turn by indie music legend Jonathan Richman (“Amore de Mis Amores”), who sings a song originally made famous by the 1950s Mexican pop idol, Agustin Lara.

Cutting edge tango from across the spectrum, served up with love and passion, Tango No. 9 style.



Here Live No Fish (2007)
Radio Valencia (2006)
All Them Cats In Recoleta (2001)