Tuesday, March 11, 2014


The tune 'Saudades' was composed by Alfredo de Siano and recorded by a.o. Eduardo Armani y su Orquesta, probably late 1940s or early 1950s (- the recording by Armani was released on the 78 rpm  Victor 60-0474), and the style of music is noted as a 'batuque'. The batuque is the Portuguese word for 'batuku or 'batuk', which is  a music and dance genre originated in Cape Verde and adopted in Brazil and other Latin American countries. The title of this batuque, 'Saudades', is the Portuguese word for 'nostalgies', however, in Brazil the word has a more specific meaning  - it's a way to express a certain mood of longing for a simple and carefree life in a rural setting combined with a knowledge of a lost opportunity thus adding a shade of melancholy sentiment to the mood, often experienced by the many migrants from rural areas in the big cities.

Eduardo Armani was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 22 1898. He began playing violin in cinemas and theatres when he was fifteen years old. As his career progressed he conducted the orchestras when the famous French groups of Moulin Rouge, Folies Bergere and Casino de Paris visited Buenos Aires in 1921 and 1922. He also played first violin in the orchestra that accompanied dancers Isadora Duncan and Ana Pavlova in their tours of South America. Armani's classic academic training allowed first violin with the National Symphony in the 1920's. Armani started playing Jazz in 1919 and continued for the next 40 years. His first jazz band was called the Armani-Cóspito Jazz Band which he co-directed with René Cóspito from 1928 to 1932. In 1931 he premiered Rhapsody in Blue in Argentina. Armani Orchestra played on radio (from 1925) and in the most famous hotel ballrooms and cabarets in Buenos Aires in the 1920's through 1940's. Armani died in Buenos Aires on December 13, 1970. [quoted from artist profile by Luis Contijoch at the Red Hot Jazz web ]

OSCAR ALEMÁN y su Orquesta (Alberto A. Barbera  p, Oscar Alemán dir g vo, Alberto Ramos  g, Aldo “Nene” Nicolini  b, José Ragusa dm) recorded 'Saudades' for Odeon on the 29th of September 1952 in the same session that produced three wellknown tunes: 'Hombre Mio', 'Tengo Ritmo' and 'Daphne'. The September 29th session 1952 is one of the most inspired by Alemán and his Orchestra from this period in my opinion, and the recording of 'Saudades' confirms this impression, I think. It was issued on the above shown Odeon 55489 and was later also released on a 78 rpm Parlophone in the U.K. (- the flip side of that issue had a recording by Eduardo Armani y su Orquesta: 'Baion Del Desierto (Baiao No Deserto)').

Alemán's version of 'Saudades' is an amazing example of his guitar artistry and mastering of Brazilian music without changing the mood of the tune. The audio from this recording has been uploaded at YouTube and is inserted below - enjoy it!