The Tango Project: Por Una Cabeza


Por Una Cabeza


The Tango Project


The Tango Project (Nonesuch 79030)

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William Schimmel (accordion), Michael Sahl (piano), Stan Kurtis (violin),

Richard Hendrickson (violin), Russell Savakus (bass)


Composed by Carlos Gardel


Recorded: New York, November 1981


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Okay, they aren't Argentinean . . . but then again, neither was Uruguayan Carlos Gardel, the tango legend who composed and popularized this song. Yet this group is one of the most widely heard tango ensembles of recent decades. This is the band and song that Al Pacino dances to in a famous scene in Scent of a Woman. And the future governor of California strutted his stuff with Jamie Lee Curtis to this same version of "Por Una Cabeza" in True Lies. In short, here is elegant parlor-room tango with just the right touch of sensuality.

But don't get too caught up in the romantic mood. If you hear the words to this song (not included in this instrumental version), you will find that it is about a horse race lost by a head (hence the title). Yes, a woman does show up too -- but I put my money on the horse. Tango fans are encouraged to find and compare the great Gardel recording.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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  • 1 Analía // Jan 10, 2009 at 05:37 PM
    I'm Argentinean and not very fond of tango. However Tango Project's version of Por Una Cabeza, really amazed me. It is really beautiful. The music gets into my soul and makes me fly. Thanks and congratulations for honoring tango.