Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hernán Oliva

When Oscar Alemán founded his first Quinteto de Swing late 1940, the ensemble consisted of Alemán as leader, arranger and solo guitarist, Dario "El Johnny" Quaglia on rhythm guitar, Andrés Alvarez on string bass, Ramon M. Caravaca on drums, and Guillermo Hernán Oliva on violin - the only other member of the group to be given solo space besides Oscar. Between November 1941 and November 1942 the quintet recorded 10 sides for Odeon, and if you listen carefully to the solo spots given to the violin, you will recognise a sound more like Joe Venuti than Stephane Grappelly and a talented improviser of the instrument. Hernán Oliva definitely belongs to the great swing violinists, and his recorded work with Alemán remains highlights of his career. Unfortunately, Oliva and Alemán stopped their cooporation in 1943 due to an incompatibility of temper, and they only recorded once more together in 1954 at a concert arranged by the Hot Club de Buenos Aires.
For details on the recordings of Alemán and Oliva, please consult the online Alemán discography, to be reached clicking here
Hernán Oliva was born 4 July 1913 in Valpariso, Chile. He was a self-taught musician and played popular music in Chile before moving in 1935 to Argentina. In Argentina he was a member of René Cospito's orchestra (1935-40), and during the following years he worked with Enrique Villegas (1940), Oscar Alemán (1940-43) and Ray Ventura's orchestra (1944). In 1944-46 he performed and recorded as a soloist in a group led by Louis Vola emulating the original QHCF. Later he worked as a sideman with Ahmed Ratip y sus Cotton Pickers (1947-55), as a leader (to 1967), and as a member of a swing quintet that made several recordings in the 1970s for the Redondel label. He continued to perform into the late 1980s.

The legacy of both Oscar Alemán and Hernán Oliva is kept well alive in Argentina. July 23th a homage to Hernán Oliva will be presented in Buenos Aires at a concert featuring contemporary groups that continue the great string swing tradition. Among the participating ensembles are Hot Club de Boedo, a group specializing in the musical legacy of Alemán and Oliva. Learn more about the mentioned homage concert at the blogspot of Hot Club de Boedo
To give you an impression of the music played by Hot Club de Boedo I insert a video performance from a concert in Buenos Aires 23 June this year. Enjoy "In The Mood"


This message is also posted at the keepswinging blogspot


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