Radio Shows

Radio Show: Cuartetos, Tríos or less [1920-2012]

Radio Show: Cuartetos, Tríos or less [1920-2012]

We’re back with yet another Radio Show for your entertainment and enjoyment. We selected 75 recordings from various small formations since the 1920s all over to 2012. We’re going to list them from oldest to youngest while also giving some historic information about each one. Sadly, we couldn’t find images of each group, so we’re going to use the closests we can find to illustrate them. If such task cannot be achieved, we’ll use a shellac of such group.


Orquesta Típica Select [1920]
Even if it was called an Orquesta Típica, it can’t be considered as one by today’s standards. It was a quartet formed by Osvaldo Fresedo (Bandoneón), Enrique Delfino (Piano), Tito Roccattagliata (Violin) and Hermann Meyer (Cello). This “Orquesta” was formed to record in Camden, New Jersey to compete with the Odeón label. They left us 52 recordings, 2 bandoneón solos by Fresedo and 2 piano solos by Delfino. Sadly, the only re-issue of this historic material was partially made by the Harlequin label, only 20 of the 52 recordings are on CD. Such a shame that the formation that clearly defined the transission between the Guardia vieja and Guardia nueva, with a selection of some of the best musicians at that time can’t be enjoyed fully today. The transfers of the remaining 32 recordings are reproduced too fast, have too much surface noise and on top of all that, are on lossy MP3 quality.

Trío Ferrazano-Iriarte-Pesoa [1927]
This group was formed to record just a 78 RPM shellac. Its members were: Agesilao Ferrazzano (Violin), Rafael Iriarte (Guitar) and Rosendo Pesoa (Guitar). We only have one of those two recordings. Ferrazzano, as the listeners that also check our Facebook page daily already know, was part of the orchestras of Osvaldo Fresedo (1922), Juan Carlos Cobián (1923), had a quintet in 1927 and recorded 25 sides with such formation. All his recordings with his quintet, the missing recording with this trio and the two recordings with Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores were re-issued in 2 CDs thanks to Akihito Baba’s label AV-Alma. They’re really hard to find and usually goes for ridiculous prices thought!. We’ll talk about the guitarists in the following segments.

Osvaldo Fresedo and Alberto Rodríguez [1927]
Fresedo had a long career spanning over 6 decades of recordings, but with big gaps between the 50s throught 70s. He started as 2nd bandoneón in the group of Vicente Loduca in 1917, he was part of the O.T. Select in 1920 and finally formed his own orchestra in 1922. He met Dizzy Gillespie in 1957 and recorded 4 tangos with Dizzy improvising on top of it, had singers such as Roberto Ray, Ricardo Ruíz, Oscar Serpa, Héctor Pachecho and many more. He recorded 1252 sides in total. The most productive period of his orchestra was between the years 1925-1928. 591 recordings! However, the 20s were full of fox-trots, maxixas, rancheras and other foreign genres. Regarding Rodríguez, we couldn’t find information about him. If someone knows anything about him, we would be grateful if you shared that information with us!.

Pedro Maffia and Alfredo De Franco [1927]
Pedro Maffia was Cobián’s bandoneonist in 1923 and De Caro’s bandoneonist from 1924 to 1925. He later founded his own Sextet in 1926 with the curious addition of a cello. He recorded 10 sides with Pedro Laurenz in 1926 and 175 sides between 1929 and 1965. Without counting an uncertain number of bandoneón duos with Alfredo De Franco and Gabriel Clausi. Maffia was also part of the Quinteto “Los virtuosos” that recorded two 78s in 1935. Leaving us a total of ~190 recordings. Alfredo De Franco was Maffia’s bandoneonist since 1926 and later recorded with the orchestras of Juan Canaro, Francisco Canaro and Alberto Gambino. He was also part of the legendary Sextet of Vardaro-Pugliese that had a prolific radio career but didn’t made it to the recording studios.

Rodolfo Biagi [1927]
Before the success he achieved with D’Arienzo in 1935, Biagi recorded some piano solos in 1927 at the young age of 21. He started his professional career in 1919 playing the music of silent movies. two years later, Juan Maglio “Pacho” listened to Biagi and propoused him to play in his group. Then, he played in Miguel Orlando’s orchestra and in 1930 accompanied Carlos Gardel with the violinist Antonio Rodio and the Trío Aguilar-Barbieri-Riverol in 6 recordings. Gardel invited him to be part of his musicians for an European tour. Biagi declines and became the pianist of Juan Bautista Guido’s Sextet. After that, he entered the Sextet of Juan Canaro and met Juan Carlos Thorry, they composed the tango “Indiferencia” together. After a tour to Brazil with Juan Canaro, Biagi leaves that group and stays inactive for some years until D’Arienzo signed him up to be part of his newly formed Orchestra in the Chantecler. The rest? its history.

Trío Ricardo-Barbieri-Aguilar [1928]
José Ricardo, Guillermo Barbieri and José María Aguilar were the three guitarists that accompanied Carlos Gardel from 1928 to 1929. Ricardo left the group that same year and Riverol replaced it. Aguilar, Barbieri and Riverol accompained Gardel until the tragic death of the singer and two of the guitarists in the airport of Medellín, Colombia, in 1935. They left some instrumental recordings in the late 20s. Barbieri wrote the music of “Anclao en París”, “Viejo smoking” and “Dicha pasada”, Ricardo, the music of “Margot” and “Pobre gallo bataraz”, Aguilar gave us “Tengo miedo” and “Mala suerte”. Finally, Riverol composed “Falsas promesas”. All the recordings of this trio were re-issued some years ago in the 55 CD boxset dedicated to Gardel by the Spanish label Atalaya.

Trío Victor [1928-1931]
Another forgotten historic group. Not for the quantity of their recordings, but the quality and instrumentalists that composed it. The Trío Victor issued around 9 to 11 recordings between 1928-1931. Yet, only 3 of them seems to appear on CDs and even old LPs. “Recóndita”, “El presumido” and “Página gris”. Does the other 9 or so exists? Supposibly, yes! but we have yet to find them. We can listen to Oscar Alemán and Gastón Bueno in guitars and the violin of Elvino Vardaro.




Trío Ciriaco Ortíz [1929-1955]
Ciriaco Ortíz was a prominent bandoneonist in the 20s and 30s. He recorded with the Orquesta Típica Victor since 1925, worked in Radio Cultura and Radio El mundo for over 20 years, recorded in another “Label group” of the RCA Victor company: “Los Provincianos” between 1931-1934. He also gave us 2 shellacs with the Cuarteto “Los virtuosos” with Carlos Marcucci, Francisco De Caro, Julio De Caro and Elvino Vardaro in 1936, recorded over 200 phonograms with his Trío since 1929 to 1955, formed a Sextet in 1952 and finally recorded 2 more shellacs between 1952-1953. He even influenced the style of a young Troilo in the 30s. His Trío was formed by him in bandoneón and Vicente Spina and Ramón Andrés Menéndez in guitars. Vicente Spina was the composer of famous tangos like “Me quedé mirándola”, “Loco turbión” and the vals “Un lamento”. Mostly of Menéndez’s career was alongside Ortíz. We’ll showcase 8 phonograms of this group recorded between 1931-1938.

Cuarteto Roberto Firpo [1935-1959]
After a successful career throught the 10s and 20s with different formations, after being the one responsible for the addition of the piano in tango, after solos, duos, quintets, an orquesta típica, and the economic loss he faced in the early 30s when all the money he put in an estate was just flooded away by the Paraná river, Firpo decided to come back to his roots and form a quartet with a Guardia Vieja sound. He also came back to his orquesta típica, but since the hit “El esquinazo” with his quartet in 1939, he focused his efforts in that little group. He left us over 2800 recordings.

Trío Iriarte-Pagés-Pesoa [1937]
This trio was the one that accompanied Agustín Magaldi in the 30s, and they were so recognized as artists of the Odeón label that they also recorded some sides under the name of Trío Odeón. Rosendo Pesoa also accompanied Ignacio Corsini from 1922 to 1927 alongisde José María Aguilar, who left in 1928 to accompany Carlos Gardel. Armando Pagés was Aguilar’s student at the time, and recommended him to replace the spot Aguilar left. All three guitarists recorded with multiple singers of the 20s and 30s, and they also recorded instrumental works under different formations. Sometimes duos, sometimes trios and even solos. Most of those recordings are scattared on CD compilations from independent labels like the Buenos Aires Tango Club or still not properly re-issued.

Trío Antonio Sureda [1938]
He started to record disks for the Odeón label in collaboration with the chansonnier Santiago Devín in 1931 until 1936. They issued 3 shellacs, so only 6 recordings and some instrumentals. He formed an Orquesta típica in 1942 and recorded 2 sides: “Para la muchachada” and “Yo te bendigo”. This would be the last recordings of Sureda. He died in 1951. We’ll show you a composition of his own: “Parece que fue ayer” so you can listen for yourself to this impressive bandoneonist now almost forgotten. He was also the composer of “Ilusión marina”, “Barreras de amor”, “A su memoria” and “Valsecito de antes”, just to name a few. There’s only 2 or 3 re-issued recordings of him as far as we know.


Enrique Delfino [1963]
Delfino was a prolific composer, giving us pages like “Sans Souci”, “Griseta”, “Milonguita”, “Santa milonguita”, “Lucesitas de mi pueblo” and many, many others. He recorded piano solos since 1917 and accompanied many singers of the 20s and 30s. At the end of his career, in 1963, he recorded an LP called “Recordando con Enrique Delfino y su piano”. We bought it and transfered it to a high-quality digital format. You’ll be able to listen to some never officially re-issued material!.

Lucio Demare [1968]
The final recordings of Lucio Demare for the Disc Jockey label. These were the recordings that made us realize just how underappreciated Demare is as a pianist. Demare took classes with Vicente Scaramuzza and started his professional career with Nicolás Verona. In 1926, motivated by Francisco Canaro, he formed a Trio with the singers Agustín Irusta and Roberto Fugazot, giving the two singers a solid accompaniment from his piano. Demare came back to Argentina in 1936. The time in which he started to collaborate with his brother Lucas making the music of Lucas’ movies. Lucio got various recognizions for his work as a movie composer, and in 1938 he formed an orquesta típica with Elvino Vardaro and the singer Juan Carlos Miranda. The next year, now artistically unlinked from Vardaro, he took the role of pianist and director. He recorded 62 sides with his orquesta típica until 1950 for Odeón. 10 more for Columbia in 1951-1953, 7 piano solos. Some spare recordings in TK, two for ArtFono in 1956 and finally, the piano solos for Disc Jockey. Most of his recordings for Odeón were re-issued in the series “Reliquias” by EMI-Odeón, but the rest of them had to be tracked down comparing various digital releases and choosing the ones that had the best quality. Their quality is not ideal, but its the best we could find. The piano solos for Disc Jockey are easy to find and had been re-issued multiple times, which make us wonder why people don’t talk about them.

Alberto Caracciolo and Héctor Ortega [1970]
We discovered Alberto’s music thanks to the CD re-issue of the “Circulo de amigos del buen tango”. We emailed his daughter Nélida and she was kind enough to ship the recordings she had for free to us. We’re going to showcase the bandoneón and guitar duos he made with Ortega and three bandoneón solos. Caracciolo did some arrangements for the orchestras of Jorge Caldara and Aníbal Troilo. He played with the orchestras of Joaquín Do Reyes, Manuel Buzón, Ángel D’Agostino, Jorge Caldara, Carlos García, and formed his own Quintet in 1962. He collaborated with Gente de tango, Graciela Susana and Rubén Juárez. Caracciolo also wrote the tangos “Chiqui”, “Con rumbo al cielo”, “Etéreo” and many others. Meanwhile, Héctor Ortega collaborated with Orlando Trípodi in his LP “Recital” from 1975 and composed the tango “Aquel Agosto”. Recorded in that same album.

Cuarteto Colángelo [1971-1977]
José Colángelo was Aníbal Troilo’s pianist from 1968 until Troilo’s death in 1975. Between 1971 to 1977 he also had a quartet which formation we can’t tell because there’s no information whatsoever about it neither in the original LPs we bought nor in the Japanese re-issue. Under this formation, Colángelo issued 4 LPs: “Trasnoche” (1971), “La música de Julián Plaza” (1972), “3” (1974) and “4” (1977). They were produced by the small label Tonodisc, and when that label went bankrupt, some Japanese collectors bought their masters and re-issued almost all the recordings of this quartet in 2 CDs in 2003.



Sergio Rivas and Armando De la Vega [2012]
Rivas issued a fantastic CD in 2012 for the label BlueArts Records compiling 15 works composed by and for double-bassists. We’ll showcase the three works of Ricardo Thompson, one of the first double-basissts in tango that was part of De Caro’s Sextet until his death in 1925 and a tango composed by Thompson’s replacement: Vicente Sciarreta. Sciarreta’s “Negliglée” was recorded by De Caro’s Sextet for the Brunswick label, but Rivas’ version is the first recorded for double-bass and piano (in charge of Oscar De Elía). Thompson’s works were: “Tren de farra”, “Pierna… e’ palo” and “Mano brava”. Sergio Rivas is the double-bassist of Rodolfo Mederos’ trio, quintet and orchestra and was the double-bassist of the Orquesta de tango Juan de Dios Filiberto. Armando De la Vega is also a member of Mederos’ trio, and was the guitarist of Pablo Ziegler, Amelita Baltar and Antonio Agri. Finally, Oscar De Elía has been working with various tango artists since the late 80s, and dictated seminars regarding the piano in tango in the past years.


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Camilo Gatica

March 31st, 2017

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