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Tanda of the Week 60: Juan d'Arienzo with Alberto Echague

This week's tanda is spirited set by Juan d'Arienzo with Alberto Echagüe singing. "El Rey del compás" (The Rhythm King), as D'Arienzo was known, worked with many great singers. But, to me, Alberto Echagúe's canyengue style of singing was a perfect match for the rhythmic nature of D'Arienzo's orchestra. They recorded 27 records in the 1930's and "Trago Amargo," was the last before Echagüe left D'Arienzo's orchestra. He did return to D'Arienzo twice more, from 1944 to 1957 and 1968 to 1975.

Translation of Mandria: http://poesiadegotan.com/2009/09/03/mandria-1926

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Tanda of the Week 20 (D'Arienzo Vals) 2012-07-23

This weeks tanda is a spirited vals (waltz) set by Juan D'Arienzo. These are great examples of vals criollo (creole waltz). Vals criollo is an evolution of the European vals as influenced by the culture of the working class Argentinean and Uruguayan citizens, primarily a mixture of Spanish and African. Later this would evolve into what we now refer to simply as Tango Vals.

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Pabellón de las Rosas (The Rose Pavilion)

The second song of this set, "Pabellón de las Rosas (The Rose Pavilion)", was composed by Joseph Felipetti. It was located at 2855 Alvear Avenue (now Del Libertador). It contained a restaurant, dance hall, and skating rink. The entrance consisted of a roundabout, surrounded by beautiful gardens. Some of the most popular orchestras played there including Canaro, Berto, Firpo, Fresedo, and Maglio. In 1919, Fresedo played there with a huge orchestra of 30 members including two pianos played by Cobian and Delfino. In the late 1920s, it was the host of a huge Tango contest. It was demolished around 1929.

 

 

 

 

Rhythmic Embellishments to the Ocho Cortado

This class demo is from a class on adding rhythmic embellishments to the ocho cortado using the music of Juan d'Arienzo. We looked at embellishments for both men and women. We started by encouraging the men to use their feet a little more to the rhythmic music of d'Arienzo, but picking up their feet slightly and stepping to the rhythm of the music. We also looked at using the quick quick slow rhythm on the arrepentida leading up to the ocho cortado and on the side step.

You can see a very basic ocho cortado at .43 of the video.

Embellishments for the Women
We started by discussing the fact the the men are not doing anything different. They are simply leading an ocho cortado and the women are choosing which embellishment to do.

  1. The first embellishment can be seen at .23 of the video. You can see that Shelley places her weight on both feet during the side step and pivots her hips and feet (not her upper body) clockwise and then pivots back and crosses.
  2. At .29 of video, Shelley shifts her weight completely to her left leg, pivots on her left and flexes her right foot up. (We also encouraged the men to be more playful with the music and to repeat the ocho cortado twice in a row).
  3. At 1.27 of the video, Shelley shifts her weight to her leg and actually collects her right. She then returns to her right, pivots and crosses. This one is tricky and requires women to be very fast on their feet.

Very Compact Ocho Cortado
At .51 of the video, you can see a very compact ocho cortado which could be used for very crowded floor.  The men simply turn their chests (not hips) clockwise while extending their right foot slightly forward. His weight and balance should remain on his left foot.

Men's Embellishments
Starting at 1.00 of the video, we can see several embellishments for men. Essentially, I am balanced on my left foot and using my free, right foot to place it to the inside of her right foot and then the outside of her left (and added a barrida for fun). I could also place my foot to the inside of her right foot, etc.

Demo performed to "Qué Noche" by Juan d'Arienzo.

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Tanda of the Week 3 (Juan d'Arienzo) 2012-03-26

This weeks tanda is a classic golden age tanda by Juan d'Arienzo with Hector Maure singing. From 1940 to 1944, d'Arienzo had a wonderful orchestra with Hector Maure singing and Fulvio Salamanca on piano.

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Juan d'Arienzo Instrumental Tandas

Here are some Juan d'Arienzo instrumental tandas. My favorite tandas are highlighted.

Learn more about Juan d'Arienzo on our Tango Orchestra Biographies page.

Song Orchestra Cantor/Singer Year Type
         
Listen to this Tanda        
El Flete Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
El Porteñito Juan d'Arienzo   1937 Tango
El Cencerro Juan d’Arienzo   1937 Tango
El Africano Juan d’Arienzo   1937 Tango
         
Rawson Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
Ataniche Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
El Flete Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
Retintin Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
         
El Flete Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
El Porteñito Juan d’Arienzo   1937 Tango
Ansiedad Juan d’Arienzo  Alberto Echague 1938 Tango
La Payanca Juan d’Arienzo   1938 Tango
         
Lorenzo Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
Qué Noche Juan d’Arienzo   1937 Tango
Ataniche Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
Retintin Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
         
Sábado Inglés Juan d’Arienzo   1935 Tango
Lorenzo Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
Gallo Ciego Juan d’Arienzo   1937 Tango
Comme Il Faut Juan d’Arienzo   1936 Tango
         
Joaquina Juan D'Arienzo   1935 Tango
El Porteñito Juan D'Arienzo   1937 Tango
Ataniche Juan D'Arienzo   1936 Tango
Jueves Juan D'Arienzo   1937 Tango
         
La Mariposa Juan D'Arienzo   1938 Tango
Union Civica Juan D'Arienzo   1938 Tango
Lelia Juan D'Arienzo   1938 Tango
Champagne Tango Juan D'Arienzo   1938 Tango
         
El Polito Juan d’Arienzo   1938 Tango
La Payanca Juan d’Arienzo   1938 Tango
Florida Juan d’Arienzo   1938 Tango
Pampa Juan d’Arienzo   1939 Tango
         
 Maipo Juan d’Arienzo   1939 Tango
 Yunta Brava Juan d’Arienzo   1939 Tango
 Derecho Viejo Juan d’Arienzo   1939 Tango
 Charamusca Juan d’Arienzo   1939 Tango
         
 La Bicoca Juan d’Arienzo   1940 Tango
 La Clavada Juan d’Arienzo   1940 Tango
 Canaro Juan d’Arienzo   1941 Tango
 El Rey del Campás Juan d’Arienzo   1941 Tango
         
La Galarcita Juan d’Arienzo   1945 Tango
Sabado Ingles Juan d’Arienzo   1946 Tango
Loca Juan d’Arienzo   1946 Tango
El Pensamiento Juan d’Arienzo   1945 Tango
         
Don Juan Juan d’Arienzo   1950 Tango
Pampa Juan d’Arienzo   1951 Tango
Yapeyú Juan d’Arienzo   1951 Tango
Independencía Juan d’Arienzo   1953 Tango
Felicia Juan d’Arienzo   1954 Tango
         
Joaquina Juan d’Arienzo   1953 Tango
El Irresistible Juan d’Arienzo   1954 Tango
Jueves Juan d’Arienzo   1955 Tango
Loca Juan d’Arienzo   1955 Tango
         
Chirusa Juan d’Arienzo Jorge Valdez 1958 Tango
Jueves Juan d’Arienzo   1955 Tango
Trago Amargo Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echague 1955 Tango
La Bruja Juan d’Arienzo Mario Bustos 1959 Tango
         
 El Choclo Juan d’Arienzo   1963 Tango
 Don Juan Juan d’Arienzo   1963 Tango
 El Once Juan d’Arienzo   1966 Tango
 El Pollito Juan d’Arienzo   1965 Tango

 

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Juan d'Arienzo Tandas with Singers

Here are some of my favorite Juan d'Arienzo tandas with singers Enrique Carbel, Alberto Echagüe, Alberto Reynal, and Héctor Mauré.

Learn more about Juan d'Arienzo on our Tango Orchestra Biographies page.

Song Orchestra Cantor/Singer Year Type
         
Mixed Tanda
Pacíencía Juan d’Arienzo Enrique Carbel 1937 Tango
Melodia Porteña Juan d’Arienzo   1937 Tango
La Bruja Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
Nada Mas Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
         
Alberto Echagüe Tandas
 
Listen to this tanda        
La Bruja Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
No Mientas Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
Pénsalo Bien Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
Nada Mas Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
         
Pénsalo Bien Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
No Mientas Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
Ansiedad Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
Nada Mas Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1938 Tango
         
Mandria Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1944 Tango
Olvídame Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1944 Tango
Trago Amargo Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1945 Tango
Santa Milonguita Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1945 Tango
         
Seamos Amigos Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1944 Tango
A Suerte y Verdad Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1944 Tango
Corrientes y Esmeralda Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1945 Tango
Canchero Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1945 Tango
         
Con Todo Mi Corazón Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1946 Tango
Te Espero en Rodríguez Peña Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1946 Tango
Yo No Sé Llorar Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1946 Tango
Cambalache Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1947 Tango
         
Barajando Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1948 Tango
Cartón Junao Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1947 Tango
Paciencía Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1951 Tango
Trago Amargo Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1955 Tango
         
Farabute Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1949 Tango
Amarroto Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1951 Tango
El Hipo Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1951 Tango
Sepe Nopo Ripi Tapa Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1951 Tango
         
Chichipía Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1949 Tango
No Va Más Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1950 Tango
Bien Pulenta Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1950 Tango
Y Suma y Sigue Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Echagüe 1952 Tango
         
         
Alberto Reynal Tanda
Chirusa Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Reynal 1940 Tango
Olvidao / Olvidado Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Reynal 1941 Tango
Almanaque de Ilusión Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Reynal 1941 Tango
El Corazón Me Engaño Juan d’Arienzo Alberto Reynal 1940 Tango
         
         
Héctor Mauré Tandas
Héctor Mauré began working with d'Arienzo in 1940 after Echagüe left the orchestra in 1939. While Echagüe was great, Mauré and d'Arienzo were beautiful together and recorded over 50 great songs until their split in 1944.
 
Listen to this Tanda        
Dime mi Amor Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1941 Tango
Nunca Más Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1941 Tango
Compadrón Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1942 Tango
Tango Brujo Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1943 Tango
         
Click here to hear this tanda.
El Olivo Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1941 Tango
Humillación Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1941 Tango
Ya Lo Ves Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1941 Tango
Sobre El Pucho Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1941 Tango
         
Amarras Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1944 Tango
Enamorado (Metido) Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1943 Tango
Si la Llegaran a Ver Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1943 Tango
Lilián Juan d’Arienzo Héctor Mauré 1944 Tango

 

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Juan d'Arienzo

Juan D'ArienzoThe Basics
Juan d’Arienzo (December 14, 1900-January 14, 1976) was a violinist, pianist, band leader and composer. His nickname was “El Rey del Compas” (The King of the Beat). D’Arienzo was born on 14 December 1900 in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Balvanera. His orchestra  is considered one of the "Big Four" orchestras of Argentine tango, along with: Carlos di Sarli, Anibal Troilo, and Osvaldo Pugliese. They recorded over 1,000 tangos, valses, and milongas. He worked with the following key singers: Alberto Echagüe, Héctor Mauré, Alberto Reynal, Armando Laborde, Jorge Valdez, and Mario Bustos.

D'Arienzo began by playing jazz, at the age of 15, but was beginning to play tangos by the age of 18. He was a member of a youth orchestra which also featured Ángel d'Agostino on piano. In his early years, he played, as did many musicians of that period, in theaters playing music for silent films and in the cabarets including: Abdullah, Palais de Glace, Florida, Bambú, Marabú, Empire, Chantecler, Armenonville. He played in many small orchestras, and loved the nightlife. He once wrote, "We were beginning to live only at four in the morning... At the cabarets, you played all night through, people danced, had fun, they stayed til sunrise and the muscicians strained themselves."

1928 to 1935

In 1928, his orchestra was playing at the Florida Cabaret. They had replaced Osvaldo Fresedo's orchestra and it is here that the famous announcer, Príncipe Cubano (The Cuban Prince) (pictured left), anointed d'Arienzo "El Rey del Compás (The King of the Beat)." As d'Arienzo explained it, 

"Mine was always a tough orchestra, with a very swinging, much nervous, vibrant beat. And it was that way because tango, for me, has three things: beat, impact and nuances. An orchestra ought to have, above all, life. That is why mine lasted more than fifty years. And when the Prince gave me that title I thought that it was OK, that he was right."

In 1928, he recorded for the first time with his own orchestra, Juan D'Arienzo y Los Siete Ases del Tango. They recorded 44 sides, with the estribillistas: Carlos Dante, Francisco Fiorentino, and, the female singer, Raquel Notar. Other notable members of the orchestra were Ciriaco Ortiz (bandoneon) and Luis Visca (piano). The beat that Príncipe Cubano was commenting on was evident in these recordings and was a return to the beat of the Guardia Vieja period, which many orchestras had abandoned. The beat of the Guardia Vieja movement had a strong driving staccato dance rhythm, D'arienzo's adherence to this would place him in the Canaro school of tango.

"Acordate Lo Que Fuiste" by Juan d'Arienzo (1928)

In 1933, he appears playing violin with his orchestra in the movie, "Tango." This was the first Argentine film recorded with sound. 

1935 to 1939 - The D'Arienzo Revolution

In order to understand, why d'Arienzo was such a big deal, we have to look at what had been going on in regards to tango music at that time.

Major Orchestras and Schools of Argentine Tango MusicThe Tango Cancíon and Guardia Nueva Movements
In the mid-1920s, tango music had experienced a change with the emergence of the Guardia Nueva (New Guard) movement. During this period, more classically trained musicians began to join and form orchestras, and were influencing the largely self-taught musicians of the previous generation. Some of the older generation would say things such as "They have turned tango into church music," because they were working more with melody and harmony than rhythm. They were more avante-guard, focusing on robust, complex arrangments and a slower tempo, than that of the Guardia Vieja period.

This, along with the Tango Cancíon (Singing Tango) movement from the 1910s, meant that tango could depend on a larger audience than just tango dancers. They could play at concert halls and sell records without worrying about dancers. Tango dancing did not "die" during this time period, but it did decrease in stature and many people abandoned dancing tango, because most of the music being produced did not facilitate dancing. To understand this, let's listen to some music.

First is a typical song in the Guardia Vieja style, Francisco Canaro's "Viejo Ciego." Technically it was recorded in 1928, during the Guardia Nueva Period, but it is in the style of the Guardia Vieja period. These periods did not have sharp lines, where everyone just changed suddenly and some orchestras such as Canaro, Donato, and OTV continued playing music in the Guardia Vieja style even during the Guardia Nueva period.

"Viejo Ciego" by Francisco Canaro (1928)

Another popular style of tango at this time was Tango Cancíon, which featured the singer over the music. Tango Cancion was born, in 1917, with Gardel's recording of "Mi Noche Triste." It usually consisted of just a guitar and a singer, featuring melodramatic and sad lyrics. Dancers were not the primary concern with Tango Cancíon. Here is an example by Carlos Gardel called "Caminito" from 1926.

"Caminito" by Carlos Gardel (1926)

And finally, here is an example of a typical song from the Guardia Nueva period, by Julio de Caro called, "Flores Negras." As you can hear, it is very complicated and with no clear rhythmic beat for dancing. It is beautiful music and great for listening, but not at all for dancing tango. This caused a serious decline in tango dancing during this period.

"Flores Negras" by Julio de Caro (1927)

1935 to 1939 - The D'Arienzo Revolution
In the early 1930s, d'Arienzo's return to the clear, staccato rhythms of the Guardia Vieja period, gained him a following. And, in 1935, he returns to the recording studio and was a huge success. In later years, d'Arienzo would comment on the Guardia Nueva movement, by writing:

"Young people like me. They like my tangos because they are rhythmic, nervous up-tempos. Youth is after that: happiness, movement. If you play for them a melodic tango and out of beat, surely they won't like it. That's what happens. Now there are good musicians and great orchestras that think that what they play is tango. But it is not so. If they don't have timing there's no tango. They think they can make popular a new style and perhaps they can be lucky, but I keep on thinking that if there is no beat there is no tango. As professionals I have respect for them all. But what they dig is not tango."

Also, on the Tango Cancíon movement:

"In my point of view, tango is, above all, rhythm, nerve, strength and character. Early tango, that of the old stream (guardia vieja), had all that, and we must try not to ever lose it. Because we forgot that, Argentine tango entered into a crisis some years ago. Putting aside modesty, I did all was possible to make it reappear. In my opinion, a good part of the blame for tango decline is on the singers. There was a time when a tango orchestra was nothing else but a mere pretext for the singers. The players, including the leader, were no more than accompanists of a somewhat popular star…

Furthermore, I tried to rescue for tango its masculine strength, which it had been losing through successive circumstances. In that way in my interpretations I stamped the rhythm, the nerve, the strength and the character which distinguished it in the music world."

From these two quotes, you can clearly tell how he felts about these movements, and also, what a modest person he was ;-). He once said, "With me one hundred thousand tango orchestras and neighborhood clubs flourished."

Of course, d'Arienzo did work with many great singers such as Hector Maure, Alberto Echague and Jorge Valdez and sometimes did put them out front. He also made himself somewhat of a star and loved to enthusiastically direct the orchestra during live performances. Below are some live videos of his orchestra from the 1960s. D'Arienzo said of his direction:

"When I direct I am justifiably natural. And I transform. As I direct I take what I feel. Simultaneously I pass on my feelings to the musicians and they, to the public... Before I directed with the baton, now with my own hands: they are more expressive.

Do not think that this is just for the public to see - it is used as a defence by me. I use it well. A look implies a mistake by someone, something that is not played well. They are used by me as a course when I see a loose element, or someone is distracted. I encourage and demand that you be aware, and encourage you with enthusiasm."

Of course, not everyone liked d'Arienzo. Many of the devotees of these movements, saw this turn to the strong beat, as simplistic, regressive and as a serious step backwards for tango music. But the dancer's loved it and between 1935 and 1939, he recorded 116 sides and sold more than Canaro and Troilo combined. In fact, his records were so popular that people were buying little else. Supposedly, some record stores required that you buy something else, in order to by one of his records.

Unfortunately, no masters from that period remain. Everything we listen to today are recordings of 78s and LPs. So, let's listen to "Hotel Victoria." It was recorded during his first recoding session, in July of 1935. Lidio Fasoli is on piano. It is a solid song and clearly shows a return to the Guardia Vieja rhythm, but is nothing "special." But, contrast this to "Flores Negras" and you can see why dancer's responded to d'Arienzo.

"Hotel Victoria" by Juan d'Arienzo (1935)

Juan D'Arienzo and Rodolfo Biagi

D'Arienzo and Biagi
The defining moment of d'Arienzo's career came in 1935 when he added Rodolfo Biagi as the pianist for his Orchestra. Biagi had just returned from working overseas and d'Arienzo had grown tired of Fasoli showing up late.

Together d'Arienzo and Biagi created his signature driving staccato sound. Soon after, Biagi began writing new arrangements of the songs, creating an even more staccato, uptempo sound than that of the Guardia Vieja. They also increased the orchestra size by increasing both the violins and bandoneons to five each. This filled the songs with a, thus unparalled, aggressive energy that dancers and listeners loved. Let's listen to their first recording together "Nueve de Julio."

"Nueve de Julio" by Juan d'Arienzo (1935)

Ok, so a style is developing, but what makes Biagi so special, as a piano player? Why was he given the nickname "Manos Brujas (Witchy/Magical Hands). Let's listen to another song from two years later, their interpretation of the seminal piece "El Choclo." Here, we will hear his magical hands at work connecting the phrases and adding little accents.

"El Choclo" by Juan d'Arienzo (1937)

Orchestra Picture from 1937 featuring D'Arienzo and BiagiBy 1938, d"Arienzo's orchestra was at the height of its popularity. He was just 35 years old, one less than Julio de Caro, but stylistically at the other end of the musical spectrum of tango. His records were selling and they were regularly playing on radio shows. But remember, above, when I made the joke about d'Arienzo being modest? Well, audiences had been becoming bigger and bigger fans of Biagi, and at a concert later that year, after a performance of “Lágrimas and Sonrisas,” the audience clapped until Biagi finally stood up and took a bow. As the story goes, d'Arienzo walked over to him and said, “I’m the only star of this orchestra. You’re fired.”

"Lagrimas y Sonrisas" by Juan d'Arienzo (1936)

Some doubt the story surrounding Biagi's firing, and it very well may not be true, but I do find it interesting that Biagi recorded a far superior version of "Lágrimas y Sonrisas" three years later featuring some "standing ovation" worthy piano playing.

"Lagrimas y Sonrisas" by Rodolfo Biagi (1941)

However, this split did not seem to slow either of them down. In just two short months, Biagi put together a full orchestra and signed a record contract and a radio contract. D'Arienzo replaced Biagi with Juan Polito, and was back in the recording studio just two weeks later. D'Arienzo often said, "The foundation of my orchestra is the piano. I regard it as irreplaceable." Juan Polito might not have been Biagi, but he was pretty close and D'Arienzo continued down the path that he and Biagi had developed. Then two years later, Polito would be replaced with Fulvio Salamanca. Here are the major piano players that played with d'Arienzo.

Piano Players in d'Arienzo's Orchetra

Pianist Years in Orchestra Recordings
Lidio Fasoli 1935 10
Rodolfo Biagi 1935-1938 66
Juan Polito 1938-1940 40
Fulvio Salamanca 1940-1957 200+

 

Some of Clint and Shelley's Performances and Classes to D'Arienzo:

Popular Songs:

 

Resources for this Article:

Learn more about Juan d'Arienzo: