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Astor Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla (March 11, 1921 - July 5, 1992) was an Argentine tanguero (tango musician), bandoneon-player and composer. His nuevo tango approach renewed the tango. He was a controversial figure, both musically and politically, among Argentinians during his lifetime.

Known in his native land as "El Gran Astor" ("The Great Astor") he is widely considered the most important tango musician of the second half of the Twentieth Century (Carlos Gardel being the most important of the first half).

It is said that in Argentina everything may change — except tango — and Piazzolla broke this rule. His music gained acceptance in Europe and North America before it did at home, and his revolutionary reworking of this traditional musical form aligned him, perhaps inevitably, with those who wished to make other changes in Argentine society.

Piazzolla's family lived during most of his childhood in New York City. A child prodigy on the bandoneon, Piazzola met Gardel there. He returned to Argentina in 1937.

His nuevo tango was distinct from traditional tango in its incorporation of elements of jazz, and in being more dissonant and contrapuntal than traditional tango. He also introduced untraditional instruments, including orchestral instruments like the flute, jazz instruments like the saxophone, electric and electronic instruments, and a full jazz/rock drum kit.

During the period of Argentine military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983, Piazzolla went into exile in Paris.

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