Montag, 10. Mai 2021

The Orquesta Tipíca Fresedo and the Sexteto 1921-1928

In 1921 just after their return from New Jersey recording studios and New York trip, the three of them (Fresedo, Delfino and Tito) decided to continue working and it was together with Roberto Zerrillo (violin) they formed a cuarteto called the "Cuarteto de Maestros", which had an outstanding performance in the Buenos Aires main show halls. For the summer season 1921/22 in Mar del Plata they played at the Ocean Club at sunset and in the evening at the Club Mar del Plata. It was in late 1921 when the ensemble changed and also grew bigger. Enrique Delfino left and Juan Carlos Cobián took his seat playing the piano. Luis Minervi joined the ensemble on 2nd bandoneon and Roberto Zerrillo joined on 2nd violin.  

Juan Carlos Cobián
Roberto Zerrillo

When in early 1922 the directors of the Víctor company commissioned Fresedo to form an ensemble for a recording series Fresedo, Tito, Cobián and Zerrillo found Alberto Rodriguez as second bandoneon. He came to replace Minervi and stayed with Fresedo's ensemble for more then a decade. Later that year Manlio Francia came for Roberto Zerrillo who left to rejoin Warren’s orchestra in Montevideo. Later Francia even re-used the name "Cuarteto de Maestros" to form a different ensemble together with Cobián, De Caro and Roque Biafore.

The new orquesta for the 1922 recordings included for the first time double-bass and also saxophone - most likely in order to get some lower frequencies on the -still acoustic- recorded discs.

Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo - Alberto Rodríguez
Violins: Tito Roccatagliata - Manlio Francia
Piano: Juan Carlos Cobián
Double bass: Leopoldo Thompson
Saxophone: Francisco Ortega
Also in this year 1922 Fresedo started a successful engagememt on the stage of the luxurious "Abdullah Club", located in the basement of the Guemes Gallery, Florida 165.
Guemes Gallery

Guemes Gallery interieur


Sexteto Fresedo in 1923 - already with Rizutti but still with Francia (left) and Ferrazzano (right)

When in 1923 Leopoldo Thompson and Francisco Ortega also left the orquesta, the entire "bass section" of the music we can hear on the records of that time was weighted on the left hand of Rizutti's piano play. We can tell in his play how his style of playing developed typical rhythmical adoracions of the left hand. This was shaped by the musical role Rizutti's obviously had taken in these days playing with Fresedo.

Agesilao Ferrazzano
In Fresedo's recordings first the violoncello (1920) and then saxophone (1922) have to be seen as a sort of experiments of try to get bass sound on  shellac recordings. Now in 1923 they put the lower frequencies entirely on the left hand of the piano. In addition to this the violins got supported by a third, played by Agesilao Ferrazzano who joined in 1923 - but him joining the ensemble led straight to the end of Fresedo's collaboration with Tito Roccatagliata, who quit after six years playing together. They even had travelled together to New Jersey(US) for recording there in 1920. We can fairly assume that Fresedo lost a friend.


Gracias! Carlos Picchio
Soaring high Fresedo shared his passion for music with the aviation sport; it would not be strange, then, that in 1923 he obtained his pilot's license, which he bore under the No. 231, from Eduardo Olivero himself, one of the pioneers of this activity in the country, who was also his instructor. In return, Olivero, a bandoneon enthusiast, received lessons from Fresedo. Months later, the musician was the winner of an aeronautical competition held at the La Plata circuit, in which national and foreign pilots took part. He drove a Curtiss JN-4 machine of 90 horse-power. Registering a time of 62' 45", earning himself a check for two thousand pesos. "We flew doing advertising for a soft drink called "Pomona", having its name written under the wings". In the book "La victoria de las alas" by Brigadier Angel Maria Zuloaga, referring to those men who contributed to the evolution of national civil aviation, he includes Osvaldo Fresedo, considering him one of the most outstanding pilots of those difficult beginnings. Within his work as a composer, Fresedo has perpetrated that love and admiration for aviation, in two tangos. One of them is entitled "La ratona" and about it the Maestro manifests: -"To the airfield where Olivero, Duggan, Uriburu, Newbery flew, came Ernesto Uder with a small machine, a small plane of 3 or 4 meters named "La ratona". With that little machine Olivero beat an altitude record and could still have surpassed it, if it had not been for the great cold felt at the altitude of two or three thousand meters, which forced him to descend, since these aircrafts lacked heating. On that occasion and as a tribute to Olivero's temerity, I composed the tango that I called "La ratona". In the second title, Fresedo, subjugated and moved by the grandiosity of the celestial space, wanted to eternalize those feelings in a tango that he called "Desde las nubes", a work that was premiered in 1923 in the "Tercer Baile de los Aviadores", celebrated in the "Opera" theatre.
After the intense and successful recording period of 1923 with more then 60 recordings in 8 months 1924 Fresedo returned to a new engagement in the Abdullah Club. For this occasion again he renewed his orquesta by replacing Ferrazzano adding the violins of Adolfo Muzzi and Jean Koller to Francia. Jean Koller knew Fresedo from 1918 when they played together with Rizzuti and De Caro. When Jose Maria Rizzutti 1923 joined the Orquesta Fresedo this was a major step in the developement of Tango in general. Rizzutti brought a very sublime and also strong rhythmic piano play to Fresedo popular melodies.
Rizzutti remained a long time Fresedos friend - until he left the Orquesta together with Roberto Ray in january 1939.
The Odeón record company was the most successful at that time. Francisco Canaro was contracted there, too. But back in 1924 Fresedo still recorded for Victor with the following line-up:

Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Alberto Rodriguez and Pastor Trivelli
Violins: Manlio Francia, Adolfo Muzzi and Jean Koller
Piano: José María Rizzuti.
Double bass: Carmelo Mutarelli, alternating with Humberto Costanzo.
Drums: Raúl Fresedo
This remained as Fresedo's very successful orchestra of the years 1923-1925 (until changing to Odéon).
Also in 1924 he returned to the "Abdullah Club" of the Güemes Gallery; there, in view of the success he was obtaining with his orchestra, the directors of L.O.R. Sociedad Radio Argentina, had the initiative to make radio transmissions from the mentioned night club.

"The 11th Internship Dance"
On September 21st of that year 1924, Fresedo's orchestra was summoned to play at the eleventh dance of the Internship -which was the last one- and it took place at the Victoria Theatre, where the quoted director presented his tango "El once", whose subtitle was "A divertirse". Fresedo reminded us of that event:
- "I was performing at Florida Dancing -which until recently had been called "Abdullah"- I had been hired for the 11th Internship Dance and it had been agreed that I should compose a tango alluding to that celebration.
With all the other things I had, I completely forgot what had been agreed and with seven days to go, I had not even began the tango.
So, we were playing in the cabaret and I said to the boys of the orchestra: "You are going to accompany me in A Major, and I will start and you follow me and I will tell you the tone. And so the tango "El once" came out, like an improvisation, with the accompaniment of the orchestra.
Then I wrote it, I published it and it could be out on time in four or five days.
The printing house, which was in Bartolomé Mitre and Riobamba, had it ready in two days.
Emilio's lyrics were added later".
In 1924, Prince Humberto of Savoy arrived in the country, before whom Osvaldo Fresedo performed with his orchestra in August. After hearing his congratulations, the Maestro Fresedo thanked him humbly: "Your Majesty, thank you. We do what we can".
Due to disagreements over the renewal of the contract with Victor, Fresedo went on to revue the cast of Odeón. As Fresedo left Victor this was a fundamental loss for the record company, so to replace him, the directors made the decision to form a group uniting in it the best musicians who were part of Victor, which they called with the name of the label. The Orquesta Típica Víctor left an important mark in the history of tango and way back then competed with Firpo's success on the rival label. This time the Victor company was very careful that the name of the director did not transcend so that their claims to remuneration would not grow at the same rate as its popularity. As a consequence Fresedo's 1st violinist Manlio Francia also left the orchestra, stayed with Victor and there joined the various Victor ensembles with different names, but similar integration. The position of Manlio Francia in the ranks of Fresedo was filled by "El Tano" Adolfo Muzzi.
Now with the cast of Odeón artists, Fresedo inaugurated the series as director with the tangos "Entrá nomás", by Juan Rezzano and Francisco Bastardi and of his own "Perdón viejita", with lyrics by [José Antonio] Saldías, plaque Nº5001, with its corresponding matrixes 3299 and 3302.
Osvaldo Fresedo was already at that time one of the three most important conductors (the others were Roberto Firpo and Francisco Canaro, who recorded for "Disco Nacional") and the main star of Víctor label and who consolidated this label in the market of the tango. Its value was of such magnitude that, beginning the last quarter of 1925, Max Glücksmann decided to take it to his company Nacional Odeón allocating a substantial amount of money for it. Once the objective was achieved and as a welcome, in the first record that Fresedo recorded for his label, joined the orchestra with the voice of Carlos Gardel.
The mid 20s started full of work for Maestro Fresedo, Zucchi narrates in his book the following events:
“In 1925 Fresedo performed with his orchestra at the Errazuri’s Palace in front of Edward of Windsor, Prince of Wales.

During his stay in the Victor label the Maestro Fresedo had the chance to accompany the singer Ada Falcón in two acoustic recordings also from the year ‘25, with the tangos "Oro y seda" by Osvaldo Fresedo and Amadeo H. Canale, "Pobre chica" by Osvaldo and Emilio Fresedo on the first one and "Casquivana" by Ferreri and F. Martinelli Massa together with "Risas de cabaret" by José María Rizzuti on the second one, records No. 79592 and No. 79622 respectively.

Regarding the switch to Odeón, and judging by the matrix numbers, Fresedo’s very first recordings in Odeón were made with Gardel. This was a brilliant move by Odeón. Striking a contract with one of the biggest figures of the Victor label and making him record with the most successful singer at the time would bring great success to the newly incorporated, but already established Fresedo. This also might have effected Victor to form the OTV with Manlio Francia, Julio De Caro, Ciriaco Ortíz, Luis Petrucelli and other extremely talented musicians. The Orquesta Tipica Victor was under the direction of Luis Petrucelli first and then later under Adolfo Carabelli's, without even stating the director’s name in fear that a switch like Fresedo’s could happen again.

Also in 1925 he had the compliment of accompanying with his orchestra the Maximum Singer (Carlos Gardel) in a 78 rpm disc of 25cms made with the acoustic system that took the Nº18201, with the tangos "Fea" of [Horacio] Petorossi and Alfredo Navarrine, in the side A (matrix 3288) and in the back "Perdón viejita" of Osvaldo Fresedo and José Antonio Saldías (matrix 3289/1).

The opinion of the Maestro Fresedo with reference to his work with Gardel, was the following:

"I would have liked to do something else with the accompaniment, but Carlitos was used to sing with the guitars and with the sung tangos he sped up a lot. I wanted to restrain him a little bit and I could only play the rhythm. At that time you couldn't accompany in any other way".

Zucchi continues:

“In the course of this year 1925 of so much activity for the Maestro Fresedo, his orchestra appeared on stage at the National Theatre, of the businessman Pascual Carcavallo, during the theatrical representation of the sainete of José Antonio Saldías entitled "La muchacha de Montmartre", in which he presented his tango "Muchachita de Montmartre" with lyrics by the same Saldías.”

Until November 1926 the Fresedo Sexteto recorded for the Disco Nacional Odeón record company in Argentina in acoustic recording technic. The switch to the new and better electric recording technic using microphones happened at that time. The first electric recording was on November 16th. 

In the summer of 1926, Fresedo returned to his classic presentations in the refined clubs of Mar del Plata, then he performed at the Carnival dances of that year at the San Martín theatre in Esmeralda street, where the audience got to know his tango "Pinturita". Fresedo’s activity was so intense this year, he had to form another orchestra to play in different venues. 

The maestro himself told Zucchi about it: 

 "By the year 26 I was playing in what had been the "Abdullah Club" and when Lombart took it over it was called "Florida Dancing". Lombart immediately called me to play there with my orchestra. The manager of this place was Mr. Eduardo Calvo, who became a close friend of mine. So close, in fact, that he decided to create a piece with me. One day he gave me the lyrics and I, as if to get rid of him, made the music; it was the tango "Arrabalero", which in the end turned out to be famous.

As I had so much friendship with this man, he allowed me to send him a “change” in the "soirée" section from 8:30 pm to midnight. Besides, Calvo wanted to do business together; he proposed me to buy a cinema and finally ended up getting me a bar, which we called "Bar Fresedo", which was in front of the "Politeama" theatre. Consequently, I made a parallel orchestra to play there, with Miguel Caló and me on bandoneons, José María Rizzuti on piano and Adolfo Muzzi on violin.
The actual orchestra was at the Florida Dancing"
- "For bandoneons I put some boys Bianchi, Américo and Emilio, who were brothers; for violin there was José Pécora, for singer Juan Carlos Thorry and for double bass Ángel Corletto.
Later there were successive modifications:
Bandoneons: César Ginzo and Tito Landó
Violins: José Lorito, José Pécora and David Abramsky alternating with each other.
Piano: Carlos Di Sarli
Double bass: Luis Bernstein, then Abraham Krauss
-I operated this way: I had the car parked at the "Bar Fresedo" -Rivadavia and Alberti-, I played some pieces there and then, carrying a bandoneon, I got into the car and quickly left to the " Fénix" cinema in Flores.
I arrived at the cinema when the interval lights were switched on and I played with the orchestra, usually a tango.
When the lights went out to start the movie, I would leave my bandoneon there and disappear, the orchestra would follow without me.
I would then climb into the car that was waiting in front of the cinema and speed off back to the "Fresedo Bar"".
Alfonso Lacueva on piano, Luis Minervini and José Della Rocca on bandoneons, José Lorito and Juan Cruz Mateo on violins and bassist Carmelo Mutarelli would have passed by the "Bar Fresedo".
It has sometimes been said that Di Sarli would have recorded as a member of Fresedo's orchestra; this was the director's response: "No, he never recorded with me".
- "When Di Sarli started in my orchestra at the "Fénix" cinema in Flores, I did all the repertoire, the instrumentation and gave him a copy of everything, and he made his debut there as "Orquesta Fresedo".
Soon after, they requested my orchestra again to open the Paramount cinema, which was being refurbished.
He told me the same "story" of the previous case, "that I would have to play a tango in the interval and then the orchestra would go on".
I thought, "He who covers much, does not press much", and I answered that, given the commitment I had with Mr. Muscio, it was impossible for me to accept any other obligation, but in view of his insistence I asked him to let me think for a week and I would give him my answer.
When he returned for my reply after a week, I passed the offer on to Di Sarli, who made his debut there after a month, when the renovation of the hall was completed.
And that's where Di Sarli's orchestra came from".
In a report that Geno Diaz, writer and comedian made to Maestro Fresedo, Don Osvaldo's version is somewhat different:
-"I continued my nightly car tours from hall to hall," says the musician, "and a fourth offering appeared. It was a businessman from Paramount who wanted my orchestra for his hall. I couldn't hold four orchestras, so I refused. But the businessman skillfully convinced the Fenix musicians. All my orchestras played the same arrangements and that man liked my style. And the boys went to the Paramount. There were no hard feelings and Di Sarli and I always had a very strong friendship and mutual respect. He wrote his tango "Milonguero viejo" and subtitled it "Fresedo". I paid him back by recording the piece for him, as well as the beautiful "Bahía Blanca", which is a musical poem. Di Sarli was a man of great conduct. He was not capable of any compromise in his musical or political convictions. He was a gentleman."
(“El bandoneón y sus intérpretes - Generación 1910" First part, Zucchi, Oscar. Ed. Corregidor, 2001).
José Maria Rizutti
The famous Sexteto Osvaldo Fresedo was finally accomplished during the year of 1926 and was dominated by the major instrumentalists of José Mari Rizutti (piano) and Adolfo Muzzi (violin). Finding the form and the members of this sexteto of the years 1926-1928 was a progress that had started in the beginning of 1923 when Juan Carlos Cobián left Fresedo to form his own orchestra and the tremendous José Maria Rizzuti joined Fresedo. Fresedo knew him from the 1918 days where they played together with De Caro. Now Rizzuti stayed for a long time with Fresedo's orquesta. 


So the "Sexteto" was accomplished to the line-up below and got extremely successful until late 1928 with up to 300 (!) recorded tracks between november 1926 and october 1928 until the Orquesta left for Paris. 

This period we could fairly name the peak of the guardia nueva. This happened together with the cultural "roar" of the famous roaring twenties - where in many big citys of the world the people were having a out going good time. Still happy after the ending of Worldwar I and as a result of rebuilt. These times eclipsed "slowly" from mid 1928 in the huge financial crash over the year 1929 which had a large effect on Argentina that used to be one out of ten of the wealthiest countries in the world before this crash. In 1926 they also had the tremendous increase of recording technology which made the major step from acoustic to electric recording and this had a great effect, too.

And the orquesta's line-up that we hear on his Odeón recordings until 1928 was the famous Sexteto Osvaldo Fresedo :

  • Bandoneon: Osvaldo Fresedo and Alberto Rodriguez
  • Violin: Adolfo Muzzi and Jean Koller
  • Piano: José Maria Rizzuti
  • Doublebass: Humberto Costanzo
In 1927 Fresedo's success was such that he had five orchestras performing at the same time, the main one at the "Tabarís" cabaret on Calle Corrientes, the most important in the city. Therefor Fresedo had to rotate permanently at night from one venue to another to appear at least in every place once, where one of his orchestra played. One of these, which accompanied the silent films at the Fénix cinema-theater in the Flores arrabal, was directed from the piano by Carlos Di Sarli, who would become a director at least as successful as Fresedo. Easy to see how clearly Di Sarli was influenced by him. Another famous bandoneonista was playing in one of his orquestas at that time: Miguel Caló!

In 1928 Fresedo recorded many tunes with Ernesto Famá singing and also many instrumentals. Adolfo Muzzi stays in the orquesta for the first violin - and also at the end of the year for the tour to Europe.

Thanks to the active management of his great friend of the Buenos Aires high society, "Macoco" Alzaga Unzué, for long periods resident in France, the Fresedo orchestra was advantageously hired to inaugurate the luxurious cabaret "Nouvelle Garrón" in Montmartre, Paris, with a very high figure in terms of remuneration, as it was 35,000 francs. 
On October 16th of the aforementioned year 1928 they set sail for France in the steamer "Florida", with this group of musicians: 
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Alberto Rodriguez and Luis Minervini 
Violins: Adolfo Muzzi and Jean Koller 
Piano: José María Rizzuti 
Double Bass: Humberto Costanzo 
Singer: Ernesto Famá. 
Maestro Fresedo would have preferred to have two bandoneons and three violins, but the businessman insisted on the opposite, given the attraction of the bandoneons on the audience. After his successful debut at the "Nouvelle Garrón", located on the heights of the "Palermo" cabaret, where one of the pioneers of tango in Paris, Manuel Pizarro, was performing at the same time for three months, working simultaneously in the afternoon at the "The danzantes" of the famous "Lido" of Champs Elysèes. When the contract with the "Nouvelle Garrón" ended, although there were other work possibilities, several of the members of his orchestra decided to return to our country: the pianist Rizzuti, the bandoneonist Alberto Rodríguez and the violinist Adolfo Muzzi. In reaction to this desertion, Fresedo had to resort to the musicians of his parallel orchestra of the Casino Pigall in Buenos Aires, in charge of the pianist Nicolás Vaccaro, who tells the story about it for this work: 
-"In 1928 I received a telegram from Fresedo to travel to Paris, where he was with his orchestra, of which Rizzuti and several other members had left. From here three musicians traveled: the violinist José Lorito, the bandoneonist José Salvatore and myself, to replace Adolfo Muzzi, Alberto Rodríguez and José María Rizzuti respectively". 
Let us note that the singer Fama had also deserted, but was not replaced, and as for Minervini, he remained settled in Paris where he married and went to Spain to work in various Spanish ensembles that cultivated the típico genre, as they believed it to be. When we returned to our talk with the Maestro Fresedo, he looked for, among many other photographs, one in particular, pointing out: 
-"This is from 1928, when the boys left me in Paris; I stayed and went to Paramount. Here is Nicolas Vaccaro, the pianist I made travel from the orchestra I had at the Casino Pigall. This is Juan Salvatore, bandoneon, this Carlos Esposito, also bandoneon, who was the brother of "Tano" Genaro Esposito, then Jose Lorito, violin and Jean Koller, also violin, who had stayed in Paris with me. The others are French musicians." 
This cast played in the fabulous "Ambassadeurs" where they spent four months, from which they went to Belgium in order to make the summer season in the sophisticated beaches of "Ostende", performing in the exclusive dances of the Casino "Kursall" in the illuminated Belgian city.