Saturday, April 22, 2006

Gaston Bueno Lobo 1932 and 1938 Recordings - 1

Oscar Alemán and the Brazilian guitarist, Gaston Bueno Lobo, teamed as a duo act, Les Loups, around 1926, toured Argentina and Brasil, recorded for the Victor label in Buenos Aires, were featured on radio and at theatres as a special act playing tangos, fox and waltzes on stringed instruments. Bueno Lobo usually used the guitar in the Hawaiian mode, playing slide, while Oscar would add elaborate accompaniment on the six stringed instrument played conventionally. In 1928 Les Loups teamed with Harry Flemmings revue company, went on tour in Europe early 1929 for the next two years and were again featured as a special act.
Early 1931 Les Loups quit Flemming's unit and were left on their own in Spain, where they tried to survive playing gigs and street corners. At some point Oscar and Bueno Lobo agreed to split hoping to increase chances getting a steady job on their own. Bueono Lobo went to Paris, France, to do audition for a job as a guitarist with Josephine Baker's orchestra, but he did not get the job - Oscar got it instead, we know. - From this point on the biography and fate of Bueno Lobo is wailed in claire obscure. We are told in Hernán Gaffet's documentary on Oscar Alemán, 'Una vida con Swing' (2002), that Bueno Lobo returned to Brasil and committed suicide after beeing neglected by the star of stars in Europe at that time, a fact that would haunt Oscar for the rest of his own life, when he learned about Bueno Lobo's ill fate. However, Gaffét's documentary does not unwail, when
Bueno Lobo committed suicide - it was certainly not within the first couple of years after returning to Brasil.
After doing some discographical research on Brazilian guitar recordings, I found out that Bueno Lobo recorded in 1932 and 1938 in Brasil. - Bueno Lobo cut two sides for Columbia in 1932, continueing the style of Les Loups:

Columbia, 22119A: Confesión (e. s. discepolo; l. c. amadori) (tango)Columbia, 22119B: La Cumparsita (e. maroni; g. h. m. rodrigues; p. contursi)(tango)

Bueno Lobo is playing the Hawaiian slide lead guitar accompanied by an unknown, but very skilled guitarist, who might be Rogério Guimarães. Rogério Guimarães co-worked with Lobo as a composer and guitarist in another setting, also in 1932, as documented on a recording for Victor on 09/04/32. - This recording was made by a small string ensemble, named Os Namorados da Lua, possibly consisting of members of bandolim player Luperce Miranda's conjunto, the regular group that guitarist Guimarães joined at that time . Bueno Lobo is accompanied by guitarist Guimarães, unknown double bass player, unknown seven string
guitarist, unknown bandolim and percussion on:

Victor, 33549A: Lábios Rubros (aldo taranto) (choro)
Victor, 33549B: Pampeira (gastão lobo; rogério guimarães) (toada)

In 1938 Bueno Lobo has teamed with top notch guitarist Laurindo Almeida on a recording for Odeon that was cut on 20/05/1938. Both sides of the 78 rpm have a composition by Almeida, but only the B-side features Bueno Lobo on Hawaiian slide guitar:

Odeon, 11649B: Inspiração (laurindo de almeida) (choro)
Odeon, 11649A: Saudade Que Passa (laurindo de almeida) (valsa)

Both sides are with a string ensemble consisting of six and seven string guitar, bandolim and percussion - only Almeida and Bueno Lobo are mentioned in the discographical info available.- The details for this small research have been provided by consulting the webside of Instituto Moreira Salles of Rio de Jainero, see

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Oscar Alemán on 78 rpm


Just a short notice to make you aware of 15 Oscar Alemán 78 rpm items for sale on eBay. Have a look here


Friday, April 14, 2006

A Tribute To Oscar Alemán

In October 1997 guitarist of Hot Club de Norvége and manager of Hot Club Records, Jon Larsen, went to Buenos Aires with the aim to assemble and record some of the musicians, who had been influenced or inspired by the playing and music of Oscar Alemán. The project was thought to be a tribute to Oscar Alemán and was documented with the release of a cd on Hot Club Records 1998, "Stringtime In Buenos Aires" (HCRCD 106). This cd has a lot of well executed playing in the 'hot club'-style of Django and his followers. Among the participating musicians especially guitarists Walter Malosetti and Ricardo Pellican stand out as excellent players. Malosetti was a member of Alemán´s Orchesta de Jazz from the mid-50'ies and later he accompanied him on the album 'Alemán '72'. On this recording from Hot Club Records Malosetti shows off his abilities as a lead guitarist playing great single string solos on standards and own compositions. Pellican is a pupil of Malosetti and a great player with a personal touch. - These recordings are absolutely worth mentioning as a great contribution to the contemporary string swing tradition in Argentina. The mentioned cd is still available from Hot Club Records of Norway.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Oscar Alemán and Ton Van Bergeyk

The Dutch guitarist Ton Van Bergeyk (b.1953) is to my knowledge one of very few contemporary players, who understands and has found inspiration in Oscar Alemán's guitarstyle. Beeing a most capable fingerpicker in the early 1970'ies Ton was at one point contacted by the American folkblues guitarist and recordproducer, Stefan Grossman, who at that time had his own label, Kicking Mule Records, as a division of Sonet Records in England. Stefan Grossman had Ton Van Bergeyk to record three solo guitar albums during the 7o'ies on Kicking Mule Records, furthermore he contributed on more compilations by various artists on the same label. Listening to these recordings by Ton Van Bergeyk was a revelation to other fingerpickers, who struggled to elevate a level of mediocre picking, - a profound and lasting inspiration, because Ton actually did what others only were able to dream of. Among fingerpickers Ton was known as 'The Dutch Wizard', and some of this wizardry still comes alive when listening to his recording of 'I Got Rhythm' from 1976. This three part rendition of the Gershwin jazzstandard has Ton paying his dues to Oscar Alemán's reading of the tune, he uses the same intro and shares licks and tricks with Oscar's interpretation. As a matter of fact, to me this is the only version of 'I Got Rhythm', which recreates Oscar Alemán's concept of the tune without copying it, but 'steelin' apples' from the same tree - if you dig my figurative speaking.Ton's recording of 'I Got Rhythm' was released on a Kicking Mule compilation with the same title, and this album also has another Alemán rendition by Ton: an absolutly incredible and amazing reading of Oscar's first composition, 'OA 1926', played as a solo fingerpicking piece on ukulele! Even today this recording will knock any aspiring fingerpicker dead, as Ton recreates Oscar's reading of the tune with ease and again without copying, but with a profound understanding of Oscar's music and way of playing. On his third solo album from 1980, 'Lulu's Back In Town', Ton has two more rendtions of tunes connected with Alemán, a beautiful reading of 'Hombre Mio' (Man of Mine), that recreates Oscar's ensemble recording of the tune from September 1952, further a version of 'Nobody's Sweetheart' that shares licks and tricks with Oscar's own solo version of the tune, recorded in December 1938 in Copenhagen.- If you haven't heard these recordings by the Dutch Wizard, they are certainly worth searching - they will reveal a deeper understanding of Oscar Alemán's playing and concept of music as well.
A Ton Van Bergeyk discography of Kicking Mule recordings is available here


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Monday, April 10, 2006

Oscar Alemán and Teddy Bunn

Dear Alemániacs,

Yesterday I got an interesting suggestion from Ton Van Bergeyk regarding Alemán's guitar style. Ton suggests Teddy Bunn to have influenced Oscar's playing while in Paris. Ton points out the trio recordings from May 1939 with Wilson Meyers on double bass and John Mitchell on rhythm guitar to have some similarity with The Spirits of Rhythm recordings from 1933-34. I think Ton is right about the OA Trio recording of 'Jeepers Creepers' from 12. May 1939, that has the same intro by Oscar's lead guitar as Teddy Bunn's on the October 24, 1933 Spirits of Rhythm recording of 'I got Rhythm'. Furthermore Oscar certainly copied the same intro by Bunn in his own recording of 'I Got Rhytm' with his Quintet from 4.November 1942, and if you lend your ears to the remaining recordings by OA of this tune, you'll certainly detect loans from Teddy Bunn's 1933 solo playing on 'I Got Rhytm'. As Ton states in his message to me, it's always fun to speculate about loans and exchanging of licks between different players. To round this posting up, Ton Bergeyk recorded a solo guitar version of 'I Got Rhythm' in 1976, that pays it dues to Aleman's rendition of the tune - and Teddy Bunn, as it seems by now!

If you want a scribble each time an Aleman blog is posted, I love to do so. Please send me your email address and you'll be inserted in the mailing list. Durium