Friday, August 24, 2007

Trio Victor 1928-29

Recently I bought the shown cd-compilation, "El Violin Major del Tango 1928-1943" (el bandoneón, EBCD 94, iss. 1998) containing 20 tracks featuring violinist Elvino Vardaro (1905-1971) in various settings, a splendid career portrait in music of this great musician. I was anxious to learn more about Vardaro and his role in the field of Argentine tango, and from my interest in Oscar Alemán I was especially keen on knowing more about their co-oporation in the Trio Victor 1928-29 together with Gastón Bueno Lobo.

The inserted notes of the cd have an extensive career profile of Elvino Vardaro by Roberto Daus, but here it is only mentioned that Vardaro joined the Victor label in 1925 as the first violinist of the famous Orquesta Tipíca Victor, adding: "Vardaro was always busy, yet he still found time to head the Trio Victor, alongside guitarists Oscar Alemán and Gastón Bueno Lobo (Vardaro had previously worked in a trio of same name and different lineup, which featured Ciríaco Ortiz and pianist Eduardo "Chon" Pereyra)". From this info I concluded that the formation of the Trio Victor may have been arranged by the musical direction of the company as a way to promote certain musicians in the stable at Victor by giving them the opportunity to record as a soloist in a smaller ensemble than the usual orquestra. Alemán and Lobo had joined the Victor company in 1927 and started recording as Les Loups duo in December 1927 - no doubt, it would be an obvious commercial benefit and a publicity tool to take advantage of both Les Loups' and Vardaro's previous success with the public by bringing them together in a trio setting.

From the online discography of Oscar Alemán we know that Vardaro and Les Loups recorded together as Trio Victor in September 1928 and January 1929. The first recording took place c.26 Sept 1928 and was released on a 78 rpm disc (Victor 80967) featuring the tango "EL PRESUMIDO" by A. G. Villaldo - this is available on the shown cd. The flip-side of Victor 80967 was mislabeled as EL PRESUMIDO also, but according to available info it contained the waltz "Kiss Me Again" by Victor Herbert, probably recorded at the same session (- It is unknown if correct labeled copies of Victor 80967 do exist; if our readers have knowlegde about this issue, please let us know. Further, it would be great to have a scan of the correct label to be inserted in the online discography).
The next session by Trio Victor was scheduled at 14 Jan 1929 with the same lineup. Four sides were cut and released on two 78 rpm discs, Victor 47018 and Victor 47019. Victor 47018 has the fox-trot "MI NOVIO TRISTE" (My Melancholy Baby) by George A Norton & Ernio Burnett on the A- side and the waltz "UN BESO" composed by E. Vardaro on the B-side. Victor 47019 has the tango "PAGINA GRIS" by E. Cantore on one side and the fox-trot "JUANITA" by Gross on the other. The tango "PAGINA GRÍS" is on the shown cd-compilation, but I should like to hear the remaining sides from this session, too. The set-up of both the September 1928 and January 1929 sessions seems to have Elvino Vardaro in the soloist role, while Alemán and Lobo provide solid and elaborate accompaniment playing conventional guitars, adding rhythm and modulation statements to the contributions by Vardaro, who displays great virtuosity in his solo work.
There is some uncertainity regarding another recording session featuring Trio Victor from early 1929 or late 1928 released on Victor 47401. The personnel of this session haven't been confirmed yet. The A-side features the waltz "AMANTE SONADOR" (Dream Lover) by Victor Schertzinger, and the flip-side has the tango "RECONDITA" by Fausto Frontera. The recordings have been inserted in the online Alemán discography, as they most probably feature Vardaro, Alemán and Lobo in the same setup as with the remaining recordings made by this Trio Victor. However, we encourage readers with knowledge of this issue to supply further info.
The two recordings by Trio Victor on the above mentioned cd had me wishing that the remaining sides featuring Vardaro, Alemán and Lobo were available in my collection. Judging from the high level of performance by the trio on "EL PRESUMIDO" and "PAGINA GRÍS" it's a pity that these sides haven't been re-issued on a cd together with the remaining titles, documenting an important early part of the recorded legacy of Elvino Vardaro as well as Oscar Alemán.