Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscar Alemán And Svend Asmussen - 1938

On the occasion of Svend Asmussen's 100th birthday today, I'll mark this event here by revisiting his great recordings with Oscar Alemán in 1938, made in Copenhagen on December 5th. The story about this record session has been thoroughly recounted by Hans Koert in a 2005 article, available here
HMV (Dk) X 6212 - Sweet Sue
The session feat. Alemán and Asmussen from December 5th, 1938 was recorded on HMV (Dk) X 6212, musicians participating were: Henry Hagemann (cl ts), Svend Asmussen (v), Oscar Alemán (solo g), Helge Jacobsen (g), Alfred Rasmussen (b) and  Bibi Miranda (dm) - The A-side of the record (OCS-1083-2) had a great version of Sweet Sue including marvellous solo work by both Alemán and Asmussen - enjoy it below!

HMV (Dk) X 6212 - Limehouse Blues
The B-side of HMV (Dk) x 6212 had a version of Limehouse Blues (OCS-1084-2) by the same ensemble - enjoy it below!

If you like to listen to more examples of recordings from Svend Asmussen's long career, I have uploaded several at the keep(it)swinging blog , here 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Oscar… Sparring of a World Champion!!!

To commemorate Oscar´s 107th birthday, a noteworthy anecdote of his incredible life was forwarded by ‘Tito’ Liber to share with the readers of this blog. The source of Alemán´s quotes is a 1974 TV interview by Pinky (preserved at Sus presentaciones en vivo Vol. 5, track 06 and 09).
Oscar Alemán (1934)
Around May 1935, while resting from Josephine Baker tours (- in fact she had gone to the USA and Alemán was workless), Oscar went to Deauville (France) looking for a job in an orchestra. Though the director only offered him a little money, Alemán was obliged to accept, because: “In those months I had to earn some money to live”. Then a friend from Paris who was a boxer offered him the double for being his sparring partner. Oscar accepted.
"Panama" Al Brown
His friend was the famous bantam weight World Champion Alfonso Al “Panama” Brown (1902–1951), born in Panama and the first Latin world champion of the boxing history. “Panama” won his title by beating Gregorio Vidal in 1929, June 18 in New York.

Brown had seen Alemán training at a gymnasium… but the true history is that he had been part of show business: Al worked as a tap-dancer in Josephine Baker´s La Revue Nègre!!
In June of that year he had to fight with the Spanish Baltazar "Sangchili" Belenguer Hervás, and needed a fast sparring partner. “He told me he had never seen a man faster than me (…) I trained him three days a week”. - Here's an example of sparring feat. "Panama" Al Brown in 1935

Brown, however, lost his fight and his title to Sangchili in the match which took place on June 1, 1935, in Valencia, Spain. Poor Oscar, very fast but… it didn´t work this time. They had a rematch on March 4, 1938, and Brown was the winner. But by then Sixto Escobar of Puerto Rico was the actual World Champion in bantam weight.
With the advent of World War II Brown moved to Harlem, USA. He died of tuberculosis in New York City in 1951.
Panama Al Brown's record comprises 123 wins, 18 defeats and 10 draws, with 55 knockouts. He was the bantamweight World Champion for six years and made 11 title defenses.

'Tito' Liber
Thanks to 'Tito' Liber for this great anecdote. Let's end this with some music celebrating the right bantam steps. 


Monday, February 15, 2016

Oscar Alemán Blogspot 10 Years!

On February 13 2006, Hans Koert, the initiator and creator of the El Redescubrimiento de Oscar Alemán/The Rediscovery of Oscar Alemán Projectuploaded the first entry at this blog inviting readers to share information about Oscar Alemán (1909-1980).Hans Koert also invited me as his co-editor of the blog and we both contributed with new entries until Hans - due to his severe disease - decided to let me take over as the main editor in March 2014. The aim of the articles presented at the blog has been to collect info about Oscar Alemán and to share this material with readers and researchers of everything concerning the subject, this way hoping to expand our knowledge of the legacy of Oscar Alemán. Nearly 200 entries have been posted and the  number of visits to the blog has reached more than 158000 during the past ten years. As editor and contributor of the blog it's a thrill to learn that the work invested here has not been in vain. I sincerelly thank for the interest and support from the regular readers of the blog. The Oscar Alemán blog will continue to present new entries for as long as there is information of interest to share with you readers, I promise!

Jorgen Larsen, editor