This weblog will give you information about the "El Redescubrimiento de Oscar Aleman" project, the "Rediscovering of Oscar Aleman" project.
Oscar Aleman ( 1909 - 1980 )was an Argentinean jazz guitar player, entertainer and showman, born in Argentina, lived in Europe (1930s)and returned to Argentina ( 1940 - 1980 ).
He was one of the best jazz guitar players of his time.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
An Interview with Waldo Fonseca of Hot Club de Boedo by Luis Liber
Waldo Fonsecais one of the last exponents of the school of Argentine
hot guitarists initiated by Oscar Alemánand continued byEduardo Ravera. He is the founder of
the "Hot Club de Boedo", a
cultural project and a string swing ensemble that preserves the aesthetic of the
style of jazz once played by Alemán and Ravera. Waldo is a tall and kind man, with the warmth of a
bohemian musician. At his home, in the town of Caballito, Buenos Aires, we had
a friendly talk.
" Around the end of the eighties, I got in contact with Eduardo "Zurdo" Ravera, who came to my house in Caballito
to hear the swing-guitar group I had with my brother." - In the seventies, Eduardo
Ravera had been the rhythm guitar of Oscar Alemán at several occasions, and
further the first guitar of violinist Hernán
Oliva`s Quintet (Chachi Zaragoza
was another member).
took a lot of affection on me, because he thought we had "revived"
him. He gave me a lot of scales exercises and he marked me for a long time how
to play the rhythm guitar properly (moving the wrist, not the arm!)." We all know how difficult it is to play right the pompe manouche.
Eduardo Ravera and Waldo Fonseca (1993)
the rhythm in our live performances, till the day Ravera told me
"Maestrito, go on" and he let me do the solo."
Waldo Fonseca (left) with Eduardo Ravera (right) and ensemble
days, "el Zurdo" (Lefthanded) had only limited motion in his right arm,
so he had to lift it with his left hand and literally hang it from the
fretboard. He played an acoustic "Repiso" guitar which sounded
Eduardo Ravera playing his Repiso
Waldo knows a lot of anecdotes about Oscar through
Ravera. Here are three untold:
Alemán used to say that a guitarist must play "standing
up" to be more effective (he was right if we think on the modern and
spectacular rock guitarists!).
One day Oscar told Eduardo: "Try to play like yourself, not like me, because there is just one
and only Alemán."
Alemán had the "nervous gesticulation" of
touching his face with the tips of his fingers, as if he tried to take the colour
of his skin off. Poor Oscar; but imagine that he had lived in a time when black
people suffered discrimination in Buenos Aires (and in all the world).
my first love", says Waldo, "and I cultivate Gardel and Alemán`s
style of straight playing. My others indirect teachers, from whom I learned
through the records and performances, were Django,
Hernán Oliva (Waldo is a fan, he has all his records!!) and bandoneonist Aníbal Troilo." - Waldo adds that the most original jazz musicians of
Argentina are... the tango musicians!
"I have a
worn "Fonseca" electro-acoustic guitar, but I`d like to play a "Selmer".
As far as I remember, Oscar and the
tango guitarist Ubaldo de Lio were
the only guitarists who had a Selmer in Argentina."
A couple of weeks ago history professor and journalist,Sergio A. Pujol, has published his book titled Oscar Alemán—La guitarra embrujada(- in English: Oscar Alemán—The Haunted Guitar, Planeta de Libros (340 páginas), Buenos Aires, Argentina), his biography of Oscar Alemán. I have not seen a copy of the book yet, but below I'll add some links to guide readers who are familiar with the Spanish language to further info.
The publisher's info about Pujol's book is accessiblehere
Argentinian paper Página 12 carried an excerpt of the book,here
Finally,Sergio Pujolwas interviewed about the book in a radio program at 221 Radio. Part of the interview was filmed and uploaded at YouTube in two videos, inserted below
Here's the second filmed extract of the broadcasted interview
I look forward to reactions from readers who have had access to Pujol's book. Reviews in Spanish and/or English are also most welcome. Contact me at the e-mail below. Thank you in advance for your collaboration!