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ARTISTS,  EXPERIENCE,  History of Tango,  NEWS,  Orchestras

Osvaldo Pugliese

Part 2. First steps
Author: Isidro Aguirre


He studied piano with great teachers such as Vicente Scaramuzza (who also taught Martha Argerich, Horacio Salgán and Atilio Stampone) and Pedro Rubione. When he was fifteen years old, he became part of a trio which made its debut in a local bar called “Café de la Chancha” which means “Pig Café”.

When he was very young, in 1920, he composed the tango “Primera categoría” which means “First Category”, and in 1921 be became part of a sextet named “Orquesta Paquita” which means, “Paquita Orchestra”, in which doña Francisca Cruz Bernardo, who was the first player accordion player participated and also directed.  

They performed at “Dominguez” bar on Corrientes Street 1537. In this sextet not only the young Pugliese and Francisca Cruz Bernardo participated.  They played together with Alcidez Palavecino and Alvino Vardaro, qho played the violins, with Miguel Loduca, who played the flute, and with doña Francisca’s brother, Arturo Bernardo, who played the drums.  During the 1922-1923 period, he composed tangos such a “Carlitos” and “The frenopático”.

In the year 1924 he became part of Enrique Pollet’s sextet at the ABC Café, in which Pollet and Antonio Romano played the accordion, Bernardo Germino and Emilio Marchiano the violins, Osvlado Pugliese the piano and Luis Romano the double bass. Eventually, some changes occurred: Romano was replaced by Armando Blasco playing the accordion, as well as Fernando Franco and José De Grandis replaced Germino and Marchiano to play the violins. At this time composed the tango “Recuerdo” (which means memory) to which Eduardo Moreno wrote the lyrics.

In 1926 he joined Pedro Maffia’s sextet. This ensemble was constituted by Maffia and Alfredo De Franco playing the accordions, Elvino Vardaro and Cayetano Puglisi (later Emilio Puglisi) playing the violins, Osvalgo Pugliese playing the piano and Francisco De Lorenzo playing the double bass.

He disassociated Maffia together with Elvino Vardaro in 1929 to form Vardaro-Pugliese sextet which was conformed by Alfredo De Franco and Eladio Blanco playing the accordions, Elvino Vardaro and Carlos Campanone playing the violins, Osvaldo Pugliese playing the piano and Alfredo Corleto playing the double bass. They both played for the first time at the “Café Nacional” and then went on an unsuccessful tour to the provinces of Argentina. Such a failure obliged Pugliese to pawn some of his musical instruments in order to pay for the tickets to get back home. 

When he returned in 1930, he worked as a pianist in Alfredo Gobbi’s orchestra together with accordion players Miguel Jurado (who was then replaced by Ciriaco Ortiz), and Aníbal Troilo (who was 16 years old at the time), violin players Elvino Varado and Alfredo Gobbi, double bass player Luis Addesso.

In 1931 they formed the Pugliese-Gobbi quintet which counted with the participation of: Aníbal Troilo and Alfredo Attadía as accordion players, Alfredo Gobbi playing the violin, Osvaldo Pugliese as pianist and José Díaz playing the double bass. In 1932 this quintet became a sextet which performed at “Cine Garay” in the following order: Aníbal Troilo y Alfredo Calabró played the accordion, Gobbi y José Goñi played the violin, Osvaldo Pugliese played the piano and Agustín Furchi played the double bass.

Furthermore, in 1934 Pugliese played in Pedro Laurenz’s orchestra and plays with singer Ernesto Famá and in 1936, he joins Miguel Calo. During that period of time his political convictions led him to be imprisoned.

In 1936 he also created and directed a sextet with Alfredo Calabró, Juan Abelardo Fernandez and Marcos Madrigal, who played the accordion, Rolando Curzel and Juan Pedro Potenza, who played the violins, Aniceto Rossi, who played the double bass. They made their debut on the famous Corrientes Avenue in the “Germinal”, where they presented their show until 1937.  As from then on, he returns to play in Vardaro’s and Eduardo Pereyra’s orchestras.

In 1938 he comes up with a new formation which included Enrique Alessio and Aquiles Aguilar (they were sometimes replaced by an understudy born in Rosario called Santana), Ambrosio Lotito (violins), Osvaldo Pugliese (piano) and José Díaz (double bass). The singer, “cantor” was Mario Doré.

He finally makes his debut with his typical orchestra on August 11th, 1939 at the café “El Nacional”, orchestra which will accompany him for fifty-five years (going through logical replacements).

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