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“El 13” by Adolfo Carabelli y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Gómez, 1932.

Adolfo Carabelli

Pianist, composer and leader
(8 September 1893 – 25 January 1947)

The real amplitude of Carabelli’s capacity is evidenced as from 1926 when Victor hired him as artistic director of the label, and at the same time commissioned him to form an orchestra which would play either jazz or tango music. Thanks to Carabelli, since then the Victor staff reached a higher hierarchy, achieving the inclusion of notable musicians and choosing an attractive repertoire. Similarly, the development of the orthophonic recordings reached an unexpected sound quality just a few months before.

However, in the Carabelli’s orchestra jazz and other beats were played more than tango; and it remained that way until the early thirties when tango recordings began to be issued on a regular basis. Around 1931 his was an outfit completely identified with Buenos Aires, having players like Federico Scorticati, Ciriaco Ortiz, Luis Petrucelli and Carlos Marcucci on bandoneons; Elvino Vardaro, Manlio Francia and Rossi on violins; his brother Orlando Carabelli on double bass; and himself on piano, conduction and arrangements. From time to time other instruments to reinforce certain sounds or to achieve some effects were included. Also Vicente Gorrese, Humberto Costanzo, Renato Zaffignani and Héctor Presas Cachito passed through its ranks, just to mention a few more.

Among the vocalists were Charlo, Mercedes Simone, Carlos Lafuente, Luis Díaz, Alberto Gómez (under the pseudonym Nico) and the Gómez-Vila duo, among others.

Some discs were published as Adolfo Carabelli y su Orquesta, others as Adolfo Carabelli y su Orquesta Típica and others as Adolfo Carabelli y su Jazz Band; this label was indistinct for the aggregation, whether theinstrumental outfit was widened or not to include drums, trombone, fagot, musical saw, etc., according to the needs of one or other recorded beat.

Among the best well-known tangos of his tango orchestra (orquesta típica) are the most authentic creations he made of “Mi refugio” (1931); “Cantando” (1931, with the added vocals by Simone and Alberto Gómez as a duo), “Felicia” (1932), “Por dónde andará” (1932), “Inspiración” (1932), “Mar adentro” (1933), etc. Also some renditions with refrain of tangos that usually are played only instrumentally like “Rodríguez Peña” (1932) and “El trece” (1932) are well remembered. Read more…

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Marcelo Solis

I was born in Argentina. Through my family and the community that saw my upbringing, I have been intimately involved with Tango all my life, and have been an Argentine Tango dancer, choreographer and instructor for over 30 years. I profoundly love Tango dancing, music, and culture, particularly that of the Golden Era. I am a milonguero.

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