Saturday, January 17, 2015


Oscar Alemán on stage
During his career in Argentina in the 1940s and 1950s Oscar Alemán composed some swing tunes like OSCARINADAS, REZEZE, SCARTUNAS, COMO TE LLAMAS?, SWING EN LA as part of his setlist, two of them (OSCARINADAS and SCARTUNAS) were recorded by both the Quintet and the Orchestra. Here I shall concentrate on SCARTUNAS, which is documented in three recordings, two for the Odeon label and one live shot from Radio Belgrano that has been saved on acetate.
Odeon 45973 B
SCARTUNAS was recorded by OA y su Quinteto de Swing on June 27th, 1944 and was released on the shown Odeon 45973 as the B side, the A side had a rendition of the Brazilian batuque by Laura Maia, EU VI UM LEÃO, sung in Portuguese by Alemán. SCARTUNAS is a simple swing tune, a short riff theme with extended space for improvisation, and this version has great solo contributions by Alemán's guitar as well as by violinist Manuel Gavinovich and piano player Ceferino Alburquerque. The tune is played in medium fast tempo and is a great example of both the excellent interplay and support by the ensemble and Alemán's skills as a guitarist and improviser. The audio has been uploaded at YouTube and is inserted below.

SCARTUNAS  was also recorded by Alemán and his orquestra for Odeon on May 16th 1952, although the label of the issued 78 rpm disc (Odeon 55399) wrongly lists the recording as by OSCAR ALEMÁN y su Quinteto de swing.
Odeon 55399 B
This version of SCARTUNAS is played at a faster tempo than the previous rendition by the quintet, the riff theme is in focus and is played in unison by the guitar and the three part violin section during the longest sequence of the recording, which takes off as a call-and-response between the guitar and the violins. The violins as accompaniement in this recording add an almost Middle Eastern flavour to the music in the sequence without Alemán's guitar as lead voice, a feature marked by the fast tempo and the glissandi by the violins playing in unison. This version has also been uploaded at YouTube and is inserted here

Palmolive ad
During one of Alemán's 'Ritmos brillantes de Palmolive' programs at Radio Belgrano from September 28th 1952, SCARTUNAS was presented live by Alemán and his orchestra, Luckily, this on-the-air performance has been saved on acetate and since re-issued on CD (REDONDEL CD 45025). The version performed here is played at the same fast tempo as the released studio recording for Odeon on May 16th 1952, however, the live-shot is particularily longer than the Odeon take and leaves more space for Alemán's soloing. His solo here is different from the quintet recording of the tune at the June 27th 1944 take for Odeon and the live-shot of SCARTUNAS is a remarkable document of Alemán's skills as an improviser during his heyday as a most requested entertainer and popular musician at the Argentinian scene.

Bandleader, trumpeter and film actor Harry James (1916-1983)
The saved acetates from this Radio Belgrano program further are an important historic document, as the in-between-music speach has a conversation between Alemán and visiting guests, at this occasion two Americans were in the studio - famous bandleader Harry James and film actor Tony Martin. This short meeting between Alemán and Harry James maybe later caused the anecdote that James had offered Alemán a tour of the USA with James' Music Makers, which he (Alemán) refused for the sake of his popularity at the Argentinian scene. If some of the readers can confirm the anecdote and perhaps add further details, I should like to hear from you. Anyway, for now, here's the saved audio from the live-performance of SCARTUNAS at the Radio Belgrano program uploaded at YouTube


Monday, December 29, 2014

"I Don't Have Paper - I have a Heart Instead"

Theo van de Graaff and Oscar Alemán, Dec. 1979
35 years ago, December 1979, one of the initial contributors to Hans Koert's El Redescubrimiento de Oscar Alemán/The Rediscovery of Oscar Alemán project , Theo van de Graaff, visited Alemán in his apartment in Buenos Aires and had the opportunity to interview the Master, shoot some photos of Oscar's notebooks and also to listen to some of the music that Oscar had taped on his reel-to-reel recorder. Theo had brought a cassette recorder with him and was allowed to copy some of Alemán's recorded material from his reel tape collection including home-recordings, radio airshots and live-performance, and the cassette recorder was also used during a conversation where Alemán demonstrated some of his musical ideas and talked about his innate musical skills. Luckily, Hans Koert and I were kindly allowed to have a copy of Theo's recorded material to have it registered in the Oscar Alemán discography, you can find a list of the music here , and the taped interview with Alemán is listed here. 
Some time ago I went back and listened to the taped interview with Alemán and decided to have it translated into English from the original in Spanish, as the interview adds interesting information to our knowledge of Oscar's attitude to music. With the kind help and assistance of Luis 'Tito' Liber the interview has now been transcribed, and below I'll publish part of this transcript both in English and Spanish.
During the first part of the taped conversation Alemán demonstrates some of his ideas on chords, harmony and tempo, playing examples on his guitar and using the tune 'Como te llamas' to illustrate. He points out that he does not read or write music: 
"... The fact is that it reaches me here (he beats his chest). It wouldn`t have to reach me, but it does! Though I am the author... I can`t hear another person singing this. No. Because, if I don`t write it nobody can sing it. If I write the music, another person can play it, but no-one plays it because I can`t write."
(in Spanish: "Es que a mí me llega aquí (se golpea el pecho). ¡A mí! Yo soy el autor... No debería llegarme, pero me llega. Yo no puedo escuchar a otra persona cantar eso. No. Porque si yo no lo escribo nadie lo puede cantar. Si yo lo escribo, otra persona lo puede tocar, si yo escribo la música. Nadie la toca porque yo no la escribo.")
Oscar has complained all his life for not knowing musical notation. The only thing the listener can do is to memorize, to keep the tune in his ear, because the author cannot write it on a score. However, having seen the notebooks of Oscar`s pupils, it is obvious that Alemán knew how to write chords, what he didn`t know was to write notes on a music sheet.

A little later in the conversation Oscar recalls his meeting with the French musicologist Julien Falk (1902-1987) in the 1930s. He was a professor of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, and the author of many works on musical theory and technique. It is known that two members of Alemán`s orchestra, who were pupils of Falk, arranged a meeting between Oscar and the musicologist.
" ... A great French musician, doctor in music -- considered by all the critics and European masters and musicians --, once told me: "You are a doctor in music too, because you know about melody, harmony and counterpoint." (-) And the doctor wants to listen to me. But I don`t want to do that. I am afraid because he knows so much. I went to his house during a month and a half, because everybody had told me: "Let`s go!", and I had said: "No, I am shit compared to him." He told me: "I must know you", because a man like Oscar Alemán, who doesn`t know music, he can`t know so much... he cannot know harmony. How can a man that hasn`t studied music know melody so well, sing, dance, jump, do anything, and also sing so well with such a feeling? Piano, guitar, harmony, these are more than singing with only one note. So, he wants to hear me. And I play this (he plays a chord of a song). He has a very good ear, he knew a lot of music. And I played this (he marks the beat with the foot and plays a slow melody note by note). He said: "What is it? Now I am going to put the harmonies. I think that, of all the music I know, I cannot recognize what you are playing. And I cannot put harmonies on that music." But I did. (He plays the same melodic line harmonized with chords)
(in Spanish: " ... Un músico grande, francés, doctor en música él, me dijo -- todos los críticos, todos los músicos, grandes maestros europeos, lo consideraron a él --: "Usted es doctor en música, porque sabe melodía, armonía y contrapunto." (-) Doctor en música, toda Europa lo dijo. Y él me escucha. Él quiere escucharme. Yo tengo miedo, no quiero porque él sabe mucho. Un mes y medio fui para eso a casa de él. Todo el mundo me decía: "Vamos!", Yo decía: "No, soy una mierda al lado de él." "Tenía que conocerte." Porque él dice que un hombre que no sabe música, como Oscar Alemán, no puede saber tanto... saber armonía. ¡Cómo un hombre que no sabe música puede saber melodía muy bien, cantar, bailar, saltar, hacer cualquier cosa! Y cantar muy bien, con sentimiento, todo. El piano, la guitarra, armonía, es otra cosa que cantar con una sola nota. Entonces, él quiere escucharme. Y yo le hago esto (toca un acorde). Él tiene mucho oído, sabe mucho de música. Y yo le hago (marca el compás con el pie y toca una melodía pausadamente nota por nota). "¿Qué es eso? Ahora yo voy a poner la armonía. Yo estoy pensando, que de toda la música que yo conozco, yo no sé lo que usted está tocando. No puedo poner armonía en esa música." Y yo la puse".- Toca la misma línea melódica armonizada con acordes)

The musicians thought that, as a band director/leader, Alemán had to know harmony and counterpoint (to deal with polyphony). But, if he had confessed that he had never studied music... how could he know that? That`s why his musicians began to question his indications... until the moment Oscar was legitimated by doctor Falk.
"... This man, he says: "I don`t have a hat, but if I had one, I would take it off and make a bow. Because they call me doctor in music... You write these notes (he plays the same melodic line), but nobody thinks about the harmonies that can fit there. If you give it to ten different persons, good musicians and arrangers, no one of them would put the harmonies you have put." That way, he demonstrated to me that I knew something. It happened forty years ago. These (the story and the song) are forty years old, 1939!! He made me realize that I am not a donkey, that I know many things. And when the musicians of my orchestra knew that doctor Falk had said that Oscar Alemán was an intuitive, but he knew so much and must be respected, they changed. When I said A, it was A. It hadn`t happened before, ..., I said F... and nobody listened to me because, it`s clear, F doesn`t fit with A. The pianist knew a lot of music, harmony and everything..., the trumpeter had also studied when he was a child..., but after the master had said that about me... when I said: F... F everybody! And the orchestra sounded nice with what I had inside here (he touches his head). I had the harmonies inside here! They, instead, had the harmony learned in their studies, the harmony of those who they admired from the books they had studied. I don`t have paper... I have a heart instead."
(in Spanish: "... Este hombre dice: "Yo no tengo sombrero. Si lo tuviera me lo saco. Porque a mí me dicen doctor en música... Usted escribe estas notas (toca la línea melódica anterior), y nadie piensa en las armonías que pueden ir ahí. Usted se lo da a diez personas diferentes, músicos buenos, arregladores, y nadie pone las armonías que usted puso." Entonces, él me hizo creer que yo sabía algo. En esa época, hace cuarenta años. Esto (la historia y la canción) tiene cuarenta años, 1939!! El me hizo pensar que entonces yo no soy un burro, sé algunas cosas. Y los músicos de mi orquesta, -- cuando supieron que el doctor Falk había dicho que Oscar Alemán era un intuitivo, pero que sabía mucho, y que había que respetarlo mucho --, mi orquesta cambió. Yo decía A y era A. Yo decía Fa... Antes no, ¿eh?..., nadie te escucha porque, claro, Fa no va con el La. El pianista sabía mucha música, armonía y todo, el trompetista también había estudiado de chico..., pero cuando el maestro dijo eso... ¡Fa! Y Fa todo el mundo. Y la orquesta salía linda con lo que yo tenía acá (se toca la cabeza). ¡Yo tenía la armonía acá adentro! Y ellos tenían la armonía de estudio. De mucho estudiar, tenían la armonía de lo que admiraban. Y yo no tengo papel... Yo tengo corazón.")

Many critics have noticed that Alemán had his best in the harmonization, something very difficult to master for any interpreter. Oscar had considered that it was an innate sense that became part of what he called "musicality". Of course knowledge of theory and musical notation would have been very useful to him, but without that innate "musicality" it would be fruitless. It is something very different to the technical mastering of the instrument: the idea of how to play a piece and the possibility of doing it. Without the previous idea... there is nothing, only a proper score reader. Any music including good jazz can be played without scores. 
Thanks to Luis 'Tito' Liber for providing the transcript, translation and the added explanatory information, and of course thanks to Theo van de Graaff for preserving the conversation with Oscar on tape.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hot Club de Boedo Honors Oscar Alemán And The Work of Hans Koert (1951-2014)

I had the following message from Hot Club de Boedo ,  which I quote directly and then below add a translation in English. Featured program and photos are forwarded from Hot Club de Boedo with exception of the closing pic of Hans Koert.

 (Viernes 24 de octubre) Hot Club de Boedo rindio Homenaje a Oscar Alemán y recordó al experto Hans Koert en el Salón José Pallares de la Asociación de Fomento y Biblioteca Popular General Alvear del barrio de Caballito de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires.

En primer término dirigió la palabra el presidente de la misma Sr. Arnaldo Goenaga refiriendose a las actividades que se alli se realizan y agradeciendo al público asistente y a Hot Club de Boedo, que, comenzó el concierto con los temas clásicos del repertorio de Oscar Alemán, luego tomo la palabra el guitarrista Waldo Fonseca quien hizo una reseña acerca de Hans Koert su ciclópeo trabajo y la gratitud para con el y con Jo Larsen que sigue su labor, mas tarde dió paso al investigador Román Romano quien cautivó al publico contando anécdotas imperdibles del guitarrista chaqueño, con gran entusiasmo del auditorio continuó la musica a la que se sumaron Osvaldo y Celia bailando al compás del Jazz cerrando una noche inolvidable.

(English translation):

(Friday 24 October) Hot Club de Boedo honored and remembered Oscar Alemán expert Hans Koert at the Hall of José Pallares, Development Association and Popular Library of General Alvear Caballito (Buenos Aires aera).

First the president of the company, Mr. Arnaldo Goenaga spoke to the audience referring to the activities performed at the hall and thanking the audience and Hot Club de Boedo, which began the concert with the classics of the repertoire of Oscar Aleman. Then took the floor guitarist Waldo Fonseca, who made a review of Hans Koert's tremendous work expressing gratitude to him and Jo Larsen, who continues his work. Afterwards, the researcher Román Romano took over and captivated the public recollecting anecdotes about the Chaco guitarist. The audience engaged enthusiastically in the event, in particular when the concert continued and Osvaldo and Celia joined Hot Club de Boedo dancing to the music and closing a memorable evening.

Hans Koert (1951-2014)
Thanks a lot to Waldo Fonseca and Hot Club de Boedo for sharing this event with readers of the Oscar Alemán blog.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Jean, Jac & Jo - Featuring Oscar Alemán

We know that Oscar Alemán accompanied the vocal trio JEAN, JAC & JO in the 1930s and also participated in several recordings by the trio made during his stay in Paris. The trio was originally composed of Henry/Harry ( = Han) Driessen (vocal, violin), Jean Irace (vocal, guitar) and  Henri ( Enrique) Juvet (vocal, piano), like Alemán staff members of Josephine Baker's orchestra/revue in Paris and on tour. Later Marcell Herman (vocal, guitar) replaced Driessen in the trio set-up, but this probably happened after the co-work with Alemán, which lasted from 1934 to 1938.
Baker revue, late 1931-1932, Han Driessen (l), Alemán, JB, unknown sax player and Jean Irace (r)
Around the summer of 1934, after a half year tour through Europe Oscar Alemán and Jean, Jac & Jo left the Josephine Baker revue. The vocal trio performed in famous Paris cabarets like L' Européen, L' Allambra and the Casino de Paris. Twelve  records from the vocal trio acc. by Oscar Alemán on guitar and various percussion were made during the next four years starting in November 1934. You can look them up in the online Alemán discography following this link and further have access to the scarce info and documentation available on the Jean, Jac & Jo trio, here. 

Unfortunately, very few of the recorded sides by Jean, Jac & Jo featuring Alemán have been re-issued and the original 78 rpm discs are hard to find. However, I found a couple of YouTube videos that have the audio of two sides, which feature Oscar Alemán as a sideman according available discographical info. The shown 'Isabelita' was recorded for Pathé in the first listed session featuring Alemán on November 23th, 1934. There is a small error in the online disco, as the matrix number of 'Isabelita' according the shown label is CPT 1636 (- not CPT 1637 as listed in the discography), however, the disc number PÅ 435 is correct. 'Isabelita' is a rumba, music composed by Enrique Juvet and lyrics in French by Max Erlange, the arrangement is presented on the label as "Fantaisistes vocaux avec accomp. de Guitare et Piano, chantée par JEAN, JAC et JO". Personnel according the discography are: Harry ( = Han) Driessen (voc, v), Oscar Alemán  (g, maraccas), Jean Irace (g, voc), Henri ( Enrique) Juvet (voc, p). - Listening to the audio it is not easy to determine, if Alemán is the guitar player - the few measures of audible guitar sound like a tenor guitar and may be played by Jean Irace, however, you can hear the percussive marracas as handled by Alemán accompanying the vocal contributions by the trio and the piano played by Juvet.

The close harmony, male vocal contributions by Jean, Jac & Jo were highly in vogue in Europe during the 1930s, other popular ensembles like the German Comedian Harmonists a.o. presented vocal arrangements in the same style that was popular in caberets and with an audience prefering music drawn from an European light classical repertoire. Nevertheless, Alemán's maraccas in the recording of 'Isabelita' add the necessary, 'exsotic' atmosphere to this French version of a rumba.

The shown disc features the tune 'There's a Small Hotel' (Hart-Rodgers) as performed by Jean, Jac & Jo recorded in February 1937 for Pathé in Paris (CPT 3146-1, Pathé PA-1136). The line-up of the trio is the same as above according the discographical online info with Alemán added on guitar, but the label only states "JEAN, JAC ET JO s'accompagnant eux-mêmes". The lyrics are in French and the sheet music that was published also has the title in French as 'C'est un nid charmant'
Like the performance of 'Isabelita' the close harmony vocals of the trio are in focus here, but the accompaniement of piano and violin also gets some spots and the supposed guitar of Alemán once again sounds like a tenor model. However, I'll point you to the uploaded audio from YouTube to let you get an impression more of Jean, Jac & Jo in performance on one of the few available 78 rpm discs still accessible and here in a well known American standard in the trio's own arrangement. The uploaded video at YouTube of the audio cannot be inserted, but here is the link.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Announcement - A Concert by Hot Club de Boedo Reminiscing Oscar Alemán and Hans Koert

Today, Friday October 24th, 2014, the excellent string swing ensemble Hot Club de Boedo is performing in a concert at  Asociación de Fomento y Biblioteca Popular General Alvear. Avellaneda 542. memory of Oscar Alemán's passing away 34 years ago on October 14th, 1980. At the concert Hot Club de Boedo also will pay tribute to Hans Koert and the work he has done to save the legacy of Oscar Alemán. The program, as presented in the official flyer, is inserted here.

click to enlarge

Thank you so much to Waldo Fonseca and the members of Hot Club de Boedo for this initiative. I wish that I had the opportunity to attended the concert to express my gratitude personally!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

A Rare Guitar

Oscar Alemán in stage performance, 1970s
October 14th this year it is 34 years since Oscar Alemán passed away. To commemorate his legacy to the world, this entry puts focus on an important unsolved question regarding Alemán's guitar model, which he used in stage performance and recordings during the last decades of his long career - an essential tool that is unmistakably associated with Alemán's 'sound' from c.1954-1980 when performing on an amplified instrument. I have earlier posted some tentative information about the guitars used by Alemán during his career here. - However, I am not an expert, but luckily we have now had knowledgeable assistance from Luis 'Tito' Liber, who has investigated the peculiarities that are to be observed at Alemán's amplified guitar. Below you can read his considerations.
A Rare Guitar
Luis 'Tito' Liber
OA in stage performance at Teatro de la Comedia, July 1971
We know that Oscar used a French Selmer Maccaferrigrande bouche’ guitar, sound hole shaped like a ‘D’, during the 1940s. But later in his career (ca. 1954-1980), it appeared he had changed to another - and in fact- unusual Selmer, now electrified with a pickup, fixed inside an oblong, oval (- or ellipsoidal)  sound hole.
This instrument may belong to the transition period of Selmer guitars (1935 onwards), in which Maccaferri had abandoned the firm. That era was characterized by guitars with an oval sound hole (‘petite bouche’). Guitars with oblong, oval sound holes, however, are not included in official Selmer catalogues. It seems that they didn`t produce guitars with that characteristic at all!

Alemán's Selmer model (photo courtesy by Sergio Pujol)
Back to Oscar`s guitar, it could be that some luthier, for instance Don Sergio Repiso, had modified the top deck (- and the fret board and head) at the time he is known to have fixed the pickup (a De Armond).

Luthier Sergio Rapiso in his workshop, notice the 'grande bouche' model, left
Here are the differences between Oscar`s guitar and a common, listed Selmer model:
1. Oblong, oval sound hole
2. No zero fret
3. Ivory inlay on the head front 

Alemán's Selmer model (photo courtesy Daniel Cossarini)
So far, we can confirm that the instrument is a: Selmer, Paris, with oblong, oval sound hole
Model ca. 1938, series number 475. Short scale
It has a sticker of Antigua Casa Núñez (- it may have been repaired there or imported by that Buenos Aires firm?) inside the box below the official Selmer logo (see picture)

Close-up of sound hole
De Armond 1000 Rhythm Chief pick-up

1959 magazine ad, De Armond soundhole pickup
Oscar used this model ca. 1954-1980. The guitar was donated by Alemán to the CECUAL, Chaco, Argentina.

Oscar Alemán's Selmer in box (photo courtesy Daniel Cossarini)
Luis 'Tito' Liber

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Carlos Gardel and His Guitarists - Part 2

Carlos Gardel
We had an extensive article from Luis 'Tito' Liber discussing the influence of early jazz on the career of the famous Argentine tango singer, Carlos Gardel (1890-1935). The focus in Liber's article is put on the guitarists working with Gardel exploring their styles of playing and adding audio examples to illustrate from uploaded YouTube videos. The article points to a specific guitar tradition in the Argentine tango community and may indirectly have had an influence on the evolution of Oscar Alemán's playing style as well. Thus, the reason for publishing the article here is that the music discussed and illustrated in the article enlightens a historical context not often included in examination of the roots of Alemán's playing technique and musical environment. - Below follows the second part of Luis 'Tito' Liber's article, the first part is available here.

Carlos Gardel and his guitarists - Early South American Jazz Records - Part 2
Luis ‘Tito’ Liber 

13. Circe (María I. Goddard - Juan A. Caruso) (Nacional-Odeon 1925. 2640, 18125). Shimmy. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (lead g), Barbieri (g)
14. Reyesdel aire (José Bohr -  Amadeo Canale) (Nacional-Odeon 1925. 2710, 18127). Shimmy. Dedicated to the bold airplane pilots, these tunes used to be payed at the Christmas/New Year meeting of the Pilots Circle. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (lead g), Barbieri (g)
15. Honolulú Blues  (Nathaniel Goldstein - Maurice Grunsky) (Nacional-Odeon 1925. 2771, 18129). Shimmy in hawaian style (spanish lyrics by Spanish Juan A. Caruso). Goldstein must have been an amateur composer, because he is not registered in any authoral society. The original record was published by Milis Music, New York. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (lead g), Barbieri (g)
16. Lacanción del ukelele (Say It With a Ukelele) (Con Conrad) (Nacional-Odeon 1925. 2902, 18135). Foxtrot in Hawaiian style (Spanish lyrics by Adolfo Avilés). Gardel (vo), Ricardo (lead g), Barbieri (g)
17. Holaseñorita (Arturo de Bassi - Doblas - Alerto Weisbach) (Nacional-Odeon 1925. 2965, 18134). Shimmy. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (lead g), Barbieri (g)
18. Amor (Gran Buda) (Julio Burón - O. de Ramenti) (Nacional-Odeon. Barcelona 1925. So 3818). Shimmy. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (g).

Prince Edward of Windsor
In August 25, 1925, Gardel-Razzano combo played in the Buenos Aires county in honour of the visiting prince Edward of Windsor. They played tangos and French songs, like "La canción del ukelele", "Honolulu Blues", "Yes. We Have not Bananas". Prince Edward himself played ukulele at the meeting!

19. Quélindo es el shimmy (Guilermo Barbieri - Eugenio Cárdenas) (Nacional-Odeon 1926. 4012, 18169). Shimmy. One of the authors is Gardel`s guitarist, Barbieri. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (lead g), Barbieri (g).
20. Sonrisas (Esteban González - Eugenio Cárdenas) (Nacional-Odeon 1927. 1111, 18220). Shimmy. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (lead g), Barbieri (g).
21. Lahija de japonesita (Nacional-Odeon 1928. 2865, 18246). Foxtrot. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (g), Barbieri (g), Aguilar (g)
22. Ramona(Mabel Wayne) (Nacional-Odeon Paris 1928. Ki-1856, 18252). Waltz (spanish lyrics from Cadícamo). Gardel (vo), Ricardo (g), Barbieri (g), Aguilar (g)
23. Manosbrujas (José M. Aguilar) (Nacional-Odeon 1928. 2923-3136; 1928. Nacional-Odeon Paris Ki2077). Foxtrot. The autor is Gardel`s guitarist. Three versions: two recorded in Buenos Aires, the other in Paris. One of the Buenos Aires versions, recorded in September 1928, was an instrumental recorded by Gardel`s guitarists, and it shows the skills of those excellent musicians. Ricardo (g), Barbieri (g), Aguilar (g).*
* Listen to Manos brujas sung by Héctor Mauré, here
24. En unpueblito español (In a Little Spanish Town) (Mabel Wayne) (Nacional-Odeon 1928. 3039). Waltz  (with spanish lyrics from Cadicamo`s sobrino, Rogelio Ferreyra). Gardel (vo), Ricardo (g), Barbieri (g), Aguilar (g)
25. Amorpagano (Pagan Love Song) (Nacio Herb Brown - Arthur Freed) (Nacional-Odeon 1928. 5112). Waltz in hawaian-style (Spanish lyrics by Luis Rubinstein); from the 1928 film El Pagano. Gardel (vo), Ricardo (g), Barbieri (g), Aguilar (g)
26. Ladivina dama (Nat Shilkret) (Nacional-Odeon 1929. 4451-4513, 18284). Waltz (Spanish lyrics by Enrique Cadícamo); from the 1928 film Fair Lady. Two versions. Gardel (vo), Aguilar (lead g), Barbieri (g)
27. Yobeso vuestra mano señora (Ich Küsse Ihre Hand Madame) (Fritz Rotter- Ralph Erwin) (Nacional-Odeon 1929. E4514-1, 18289). German song with Spanish lyrics by Luis Rubinstein. Two versions. Gardel (vo), Aguilar (lead g), Barbieri (g)
28. Yo nací para tí, tú serás para mí(You Were Meant For Me) (Macio Herb Brown) (Nacional-Odeon 1930. 5326). Foxtrot (spanish lyrics by Enrique Cadícamo); from the film Melodía de Broadway). Recorded April 1st 1930. Rodolfo Biaggi (p), Antonio Rodio (v), Barbieri (g), Aguilar (g), Riverol (g).
29. Caprichosa (Froilán Aguilar) (Nacional-Odeon 1930. 6067, 18837). Fado in foxtrot-style from Uruguayan Froilán Aguilar. Gardel (vo), Barbieri (g), Aguilar (g), Riverol (g)

30. Dejà (Jean Lenoir - Elie Aivaz) (Nacional-Odeon Paris 1931. Ki4491). Waltz in French. First version recorded in Paris with Gregor orchestra. Second with two guitars. Gardel (vo), Barbieri (g), Riverol (g).
31. Folie(Locura) (A. Wilson - Alfred Fischer) (Nacional-Odeon Paris 1931. Ki4492; Nacional-Odeon 1931. 6872). In French. Two versions: With two guitars (Barbieri and Riverol) and with Gregor orchestra.
32. Madame,c’est vous (Señora, es usted) (Kalikián Grégor) (Nacional-Odeon 1931. 6873, 18863). In French. With Gregor orchestra.
33. Je tedirai (Kalikián Grégor - Michel Emer) (Nacional-Odeon 1931. 6874, 18863). Foxtrot. Sang in French.

Kalikian Gregor (Krikor Bedros Kallekian, b. Stambul 02-28-1897 – d.?) was a French-Armenian dancer who lead his jazzband, called The Gregorians. This orchestra played in Paris and the theaters, casinos and cabarets on the Côte d'Azur (i.e. Nice) in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He dressed eccentrically, accompanied by two large Afghan dogs. He got acquainted with Gardel in January 1931, then in Paris and Nice. By the end of 1931, during a tour through South-America, he was in Argentina. Gregor made records for Ultraphone and Edison Bell, among others labels. His orchestra of twelve pieces, one of the pioneers of jazz in France (as Ray Ventura`s), was capable of playing all styles of music, from comic burlesques (with amounts of clowning) to hot jazz. It adopted the symphonic style of Paul Whiteman, combining improvisation and written music. The band dressed in impeccably tailored uniforms. The French jazz magazine La Revue du Jazz (appeared in 1929) was the "house-organ" of Gregor and His Gregorians (Acc. Kennedy, W.: Le hot. The assimilation of American jazz in France, 1917-1940. Kent State University).

Stéphane Grappelli
Stephane Grappelli was a member of the band in 1930. Formation ca. 1932-1933: Ray Allen (d), Leo Vauchant-Arnaud? (tb), Edmund Cohanier (as, cl), Alix Combelle (ts, cl), Michel Emer? (p), Roger Fisbach (as, cl), Gregor Kelekian (Leader, vo), Charles "Coco" Kiehn (ts, cl), Gaston Lapeyronnie (t), Charles Lisee (as, cl), Lucien Moraweck (p), Edmund Masse (banjo, g), Stephane Mougin? (p), Guy Paquinet? (tb), Andre Pico (t), Sylvio Schmidt (v), Raymond Van Der Notte (bass brass), Michel Warlop (v) ( Source:

Gregor and his Gregorians
The jazz band of Gregor that accompanied Gardel in 1931 (or toured with Gregor in Southamerica in 1930) was integrated by: Alberto Hervier (as), Carlos Trógolo (ts), Francisco Mazzeo (t), José Brullo (tb), Freddie Forsher (p), Manuel Gabinovich (v), Johnny Conyers (g) and Luis Castro (d). (Source:

34. Parlezmoi d’amour (Háblame de amor) (Lenoir) (Nacional-Odeon 1933. 7365, 18880). In French. Popularized in America by Lucienne Boyer in 1930. Four guitars: Pettorossi, Barbieri, Riverol, Vivas. In his last year in Argentina, Gardel became the first Argentinian singer who performed with a four guitars combo.
35. Rubias de New York (Gardel-LePera) (Victor New York 1934. 83703, 18914). Foxtrot composed by Gardel in the USA, 1934, for the film El tango en Broadway. His last, best and world kown foxtrot. Part of the merry lyrics: Mary, Peggy, Betty, Julie, / New York blondes, / adorned little heads / that lie about love. / The stars feel envy; / I don`t know how to live without them. / Mary, Peggy, Betty, Julie, / of flourished lips. It was recorded with Terig Tucci orchestra, integrated by: Tucci (v), Remo Bolognini (v),Rafael Galindo (v), Joe Biviano (accordion), Domingo Guido (bass), Alberto Castellanos (p), Osvaldo Nazzuchi/Vicente Navatta (cello).
36. Amortropical (Sol tropical) (Terig Tucci - Alfredo LePera) (Victor New York 1935. 89231). Rumba. Recorded in January 1935, with Terig Tucci orchestra, for the film El día que me quieras. It was integrated by: Juan Manzo/Horacio Zito (v), Remo Bolognini (v),Rafael Galindo (v), Joe Biviano (accordion), Domingo Guido (bass), Abraham Thevenet/Joseph Kahn (p), Osvaldo Nazzuchi/Vicente Navatta (cello), Eugenio Cibelli (g), Juan López (t).

These records show that Carlos Gardel, as well as Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo,  Horacio Salgán, Astor Piazzolla (and Oscar Alemán of course), was not limited to a single genre. They were all "tango men", but in contemporary definition of jazz... could they be named "jazz men" too?

Carlos Gardel
 For making this, I used my own (and humble) discographical archive and Boris Puga`s discography (published in Tangueando nº7. 1969). Some of the information about the authors is taken from the great work of Orlando Del Greco, "Carlos Gardel y los autores de sus canciones" (Ed. Akian. Bs. As. 1990). Other data are from various websites and excellent J. and O. Barsky`s :"Carlos Gardel. La biografía" (Taurus, Bs. As. 2004).