by Oscar Zucchi
Bandoneon player, composer, leader
(November 5, 1896 - September 25, 1964)
Full name: Anselmo Alfredo Aieta
Nicknames: Ricardo Aieta and Pepe Soles
prominent figure of the generation of tango men of the period 1910-1925, when by that time the schism of the interpretive styles of tango took place, Aieta turned out to be the most significant rampart that traditionalism opposed to the new evolutionary ways of bandoneon playing conceived and led by Pedro Maffia and Pedro Laurenz.
A genuine product of a period, Aieta represents the essentially intuitive and self taught musician whose privileged musical ear and innate talent generously replace his academic lacks.
As interpreter it is worthwhile to highlight his natural good taste, a striking facility in the improvisation of surprising and unique variations of suggestive beauty and a special flavor of the outskirts with undeniable reminiscences of the bandoneon playing of his admired Eduardo Arolas that he evidenced when playing his tangos or those milongas corraleras that so well he had learned.
Nevertheless, it is in his overwhelming work as composer where the flame of his geniality reaches a brighter light, either due to the huge volume of his output or because of that display of originality, beauty and vigor that beats in each one of the melodies born out of his inexhaustible creative spring which have consecrated him as one of the top rhapsodes of the people. He was a painter of happiness and sadness that changed colors for sounds.
He was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo and he began very young, at age 10, with an old concertola that belonged to his elder brother Ricardo.
We can locate his professional beginnings around 1913. It is generally said that he appeared at the cafe “La Buseca” of Avellaneda where he replaced the bandoneonist Graciano De Leone in the tango trio whose other members were “El Chino” Agustín Bardi on piano and Ricardo González, “Muchila”, as guitarist. Also, on some occasions he joined the group led by Genaro Espósito.
He met and was friend and fervent admirer of Arolas with whom he also played. He appeared with the most important musicians of that decade: “El Rata” Rafael Iriarte, Carlos Marcucci, José Servidio, Luis Bernstein, Rafael Tuegols, Roberto Goyheneche.
In 1919 he joined Francisco Canaro's orchestra in which he remained until 1923. His tango "El huérfano"(The orphan) belongs to that time. It was the first of his series with Francisco García Jiménez, a young poet that his friend Tuegols introduced to him.
After his tenure with Canaro, he put together his own orchestra and was in high demand in cafes, cinema theaters and clubs. He had a schedule so busy that he formed three or four aggregations that played simultaneously.
In 1925 he joined the Orquesta Típica Paramount that made its debut at the cinema theater of the same name, alongside Alfredo Mazzeo and Juan D'Arienzo (violins), Ángel D'Agostino, first and Alfonso Lacueva, later (piano) and José Puglisi (double bass).
Through the ranks of his orchestra important tango names passed: Luis Moresco, Luis Visca, Nerón Ferrazzano, Daniel Álvarez, Gabriel Clausi, Jorge Argentino Fernández, the vocalist Carlos Dante and the poet Armando Tagini.
He is, undoubtedly, among the most prolific and qualified composers in tango, throughout its history.
Since his opening page: “La primera sin tocar”, around 1912, the exuberant flow of his creativity and the high lyrical flight, that would characterize his output as a whole, are present throughout his oeuvre, either in the numbers conceived as instrumentals or in those penned to be sung. The latter ones are the largest number in his oeuvre.
As for these songs, he is among the favorite composers of Carlos Gardel who committed to record sixteen of his numbers.
In this facet of his artistic work he had important collaborators, such as Enrique Dizeo, Lito Bayardo, Santigo Adamini, Cátulo Castillo, Vicente Planells del Campo, Francisco Laino, Mario Battistella, Francisco Bastardi and Nolo López. But it was with García Jiménez with whom he achieved the best blend of music and lyrics.
Besides tangos, he composed waltzes, pasodobles, zambas, milongas and even pieces of other genres. And in all his compositions we can perceive the fresh fragrance of the spontaneity with which they were devised. That ready and genuine inspiration of the illuminated ones that consecrates him as one of the greatest melody writers in the genre.
Because Aieta possessed an innate gift for composing with astonishing easiness, with a remarkable ad lib facility whic is described by his own words and is quoted by Horacio Ferrer: «Every day I get up at 7 in the morning and, at 8 o'clock I am getting something new on the bandoneon».
He indistinctly composed on the bandoneon or on the piano, of which he had complete command. As he was unable to write music he had unavoidably to turn to other musicians in order to transcribe his pieces to a music staff. Many of them were transcribed by the remarkable singer and musician, Charlo, a great friend of Aieta's. The former used to go to the latter's home to borrow his piano in order to compose.
The peak of his inspiration was in the twenties and in the early thirties: “El huérfano” (1921), “Príncipe” (1922), “La mentirosa” (1923), “Suerte loca” (1925), “Siga el corso”, “Bajo Belgrano” and “Tus besos fueron míos” (1926), “Carnaval” and “La chiflada” (1927), “Entre sueños”, “Alma en pena” and “Yo me quiero disfrazar” (1928), “Prisionero”, “Palomita blanca”, “Chau ingrata”, “Tras cartón”, “Tan grande y tan sonso” and “Qué fenómeno”, (1929), “Primero campaneala” and “Bajo tierra” (1930), “Ya estamos iguales” (1934). Thereafter, there was a kind of recess in his work as composer until the 40s when two booms were launched: “Mariposita" (1940) and “Color de barro" (1941).
Furthermore, the validity of his repertoire was continually revitalized , thanks to the stupendous renditions of his numbers by the most successful names of the period: Aníbal Troilo, Osvaldo Fresedo, Alfredo De Angelis, Miguel Caló, Ricardo Tanturi, Osvaldo Pugliese, Francisco Canaro, Juan D'Arienzo, etc.In the 50s he released two hits: “Estampa tanguera” and “Escolazo” which Edmundo Rivero recorded.