Osvaldo Pugliese

(02.12.1905 – 25.07.1995)

Thanks to his father (that was an amateur flautist) and two brothers (Vicente and Alberto), Osvaldo made his first contact with tango music, and started playing violin. Very soon, he switched from violin to flute. After his musical education at the age of 15, he started playing professionally in Café de La Characha.

Soon after that, he played alongside with the first female bandoneonist – Francisca ‘Paquita’ Bernardo. After that, he played in ‘Enrique Pollet quartet’ with the famous Roberto Firpo. In 1927, he became a member of the well-known Pedro Maffi’s tango orchestra. Along with violinist Elvin Vardarom, he leaves the same tango orchestra and forms an “avant-garde group” for the time – Vardaro-Pugliese. They performed together with the poet Eduardo Moreno (creator of the famous tango Recuerdo) in café Nacional.

Later, Pugliese and the famous tango violinist Alfredo Gobbi formed the band in which – at that time – the very young bandoneonist Anibal Troilo played. In 1934, Pugliese becomes the pianist in Pedro Laurenco’s orchestra, in which (along with other arrangements) he writes the arrangement for the famous tango La Beba. In 1939, he returns to café National, where he finally becomes leader of an orchestra, a pianist and arranger.

Continuing his work, he further defined his sound that was in De Caro style; however, his sound had strong rhythm that was easily sensed by tango dancers. At the time, he played with the base player Aniceto Rossi, and violinist Enrike Camaranom (that was “born” to play with Pugliese). 0svaldo played with bandoneonist Osvaldo Rugierro for almost 30 years.

In 1940s, Osvaldo Pugliese recorded some of the well-known tango instrumentals, such as La Yumba, Negracha, and Malandracha. In these compositions he pioneered syncope and contra-rhythm that were later used by Horacio Salgana and Astor Piazzolla. His other important compositions were: Recuerdo, La Beba, Chique, among others. Pugliese’s tango orchestra evolved tango culture, even though his music was often censured because of his left political orientation.

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