After twenty years of playing music together, Javier Girotto & Aires Tango are back on track. And for the first time their number has grown to five. Indeed, their new album, “Duende”, also features the well-known American guitar player, Ralph Towner, who wrote half the tracks on it, allowing Aires Tango new sonic shades that intertwine into a wildly intriguing music. The six pieces by Towner regularly alternate with the six by Girotto, showing both the differences and many similarities in style between the Washington State-born musician and the Italian-Argentinian quartet. “Duende” opens with the title track by Towner. The guitarist’s opening arpeggio is highlighted by Michele Rabbia’s drums, as the other Aires Tango players gradually join in. “Racconti in fuga” is introduced by Alessandro Gwis on piano, who performs a stunning solo towards the end. In “Origini”, a rustling gramophone creates the opening for an amazing theme on piano and sax, then flows into Marco Siniscalco’s solo on electric bass. Ralph Towner tests himself against Italian traditional music, specifically from Campania, giving rise to a fresh “Tammurriata”, where his classic guitar interacts beautifully with Gwis’s piano. Listening is pleasant, as is always the case when you come across Girotto’s rich, appealing melodies. Towner’s contribution to the bandleader’s pieces merges perfectly with Aires Tango’s sound. “A Breath Away” and “Chiaroscuro” are further cases in point: in the latter track, the guitarist launches into a long solo, supported and highlighted very gently by the rhythm section of Girotto’s quartet. “Duende” ends with “Barrio Jardin”, a highly impressive, melancholic piece vaguely evoking Fellini’s world.