A guide to the recordings best-suited for dancers first learning to hear the rhythm of Argentine tango music.
Where to Buy
We think, however, that the beginning dancer will do better by listening and moving to the tangos on Francisco Canaro's La Melodia de Nuestro Adios and Miguel Caló's Yo Soy el Tango before moving onto Di Sarli. The tangos on these two CDs are among the very best for learning the walking rhythm of tango because they have a clear and simple beat that is stronger and closer to a walking tempo than that found on Di Sarli recordings. We recommend working with the tangos on the Canaro CD first because they are somewhat slower in tempo than those on the Caló CD.
After learning to move to the tangos on the two Canaro and Caló CDs, many beginning dancers are ready to listen and move to the instrumental tangos of Carlos Di Sarli. The best available Di Sarli CD is Solo Tango: Instrumental Vol. 1. The tangos on this CD have a clear and simple walking beat for dancing. The release RCA Victor 100 Años is nearly as good. The Tango Argentino release Instrumental is a decent third choice. For those wishing to add a vocal dimension to Di Sarli's music, the CDs Sus Primeros Exitos, vol. 1 with singer Roberto Rufino or Porteño y Bailarin (Tango Argentino) with vocalist Jorge Duran are outstanding choices.
After learning to move to Di Sarli, the beginning dancer is ready to move onto the rhythm king, Juan D'Arienzo. To learn to hear and move to the 2x4 rhythms of Juan D'Arienzo, El Esquinazo 1937-1938, or Instrumental, vol. 1 are the best choices. For D'Arienzo, El Esquinazo has the best set of tracks in the best-sounding collection of D' Arienzo's classics. Instrumental, vol. 1 has more of D' Arienzo's classic instrumentals than any other CD and very good sound quality. Other choices are Sus Primeros Exitos vol. 1, Sus Primeros Exitos vol. 2, or El Rey del Compas.
After D'Arienzo comes the more subtle Anibal Troilo and Ricardo Tanturi with Alberto Castillo. The CDs Yo Soy El Tango (Troilo en RCA) and Instrumental (Tango Argentino) are the best choices for Troilo's early instrumentals. The CD Troilo/Fiorentino (Solo Tango) captures Troilo with the vocalist Francisco Fiorentino. Much of the best material from these three CDs can be found on the more widely available El Inmortal Pichuco (El Bandoneon) but at much lower fidelity. For the Ricardo Tanturi orchestra with vocalist Alberto Castillo, the Solo Tango release, Tanturi/Castillo is a great choice. The Tanturi/Castillo CDs, Tangos de mi Ciudad and El Tango es el Tango are also quite good.
The next challenge is to move onto the music of De Angelis, Pugliese and Biagi. The music of Alfredo De Angelis provides a good bridge from Di Sarli to Pugliese because the De Angelis orchestra played solid dance music that has a feel between the smoothness of Di Sarli and the drama of Pugliese. For Alfredo De Angelis, either From Argentina to the World or Instrumentales Inolvidables would be a good choice.
For a dancer moving onto the more challenging rhythms of Pugliese, the CD Ausencia captures dance classics from both early and later in his career, showing his transition from more solid dance rhythms to the more challenging, but wonderfully compelling La Yumba beat. The CD Instrumentales Inolvidables is a good second choice.
Rodolfo Biagi—who was a pianist in the first Juan D'Arienzo Orchestra—took D'Arienzo's direction of playing in a 2x4 rhythm but added striking rhythmic elements of his own. Dancers who are comfortable with D'Arienzo's music are ready to tackle Biagi’s music. For those first listening and moving to Biagi, good choices are Sus Exitos con Falgas y Ibanez (EMI Reliquias) and the somewhat lower fidelity Campo Afuera (El Bandoneon).
Of the dealers in the United States, TangoCD.com has the most extensive list of recordings. Zival's Tango Store in Buenos Aires has the most extensive list of recordings and ships promptly. Owing to the distance, Zival's shipping costs are high and are best spread across a big order. In the United Kingdom, Mike Lavocah's milonga.co.uk, has an extensive list of available recordings. In Germany, Danza y Movimiento has an extensive list of recordings.