Bandoneonist, composer and leader
(30 October 1903 - 31 May 1957)
Nickname: El pibe de Wilde
e was one of the three famous "kids" in the early days of tango, along with Maffia, the kid from Flores and the kid Fresedo from La Paternal. They had an audience that listened to them and compared them.
There were doubts about his date of birth. Several sources said it was on October 31, 1904. For that reason I asked Oscar Zucchi. He showed me a copy of his birth certificate, which read: "On the second day of November 1903 Romualdo Marcucci, an Italian who was 44 years old, married to Carolina Zola, appeared saying that on October 30 at 5 PM, their son Carlos was born in their own domicile, 920 Lamadrid Street, Capital Federal."
When he was five years old, his parents left the neighborhood of Barracas to cross the Riachuelo and settle several kilometers south, in Wilde, Province of Buenos Aires.
Time later, his elder brother bought a bandoneon. According to words of Carlos himself, his brother's playing was a torture for him, but anyhow it drew his attention to the instrument. So he began to look after the mystery of it. And he found it. As soon as his family noticed he had a facility with the instrument they sent him to study with maestro Arturo Bernstein. He was 8 then. He easily learnt the 40 pages of studies of the Menozzi method. The ultimate proficiency demanded to an instrumentalist then.
He as well studied violin with Mario Rosegger. There his fellow student was Antonio Rodio. With him he played at recitals in a duo setting for the joy of his teacher but he did not play tango.
In his beginnings he performed at the Bar Iglesias on 1500 Corrientes Street in a trio comprised by kids. Among them was Cayetano Puglisi.
The Bates brothers say that one day he was absent and the man in charge of the barroom, worried, went to Wilde to find out what had happened. When he arrived at his place he saw him on the roof of his house flying a kite and he was unwilling to go down to comply with his duty. He was unable to persuade him until he had the idea of offering him 20 cents: «Will you give me 20 cents? I'll go down right now.»
At age 14 he joined another trio with the guitarist Ángel Domingo Riverol and the violinist, and future soccer player Raimundo Orsi (in Independiente Club of Avellaneda and in the Italy team, world champion).
He also joined a group led by Francisco De Caro at the Café Royal and others that appeared at the El Parque café and at the Chantecler cabaret.
In 1923 he performed with Carlos Geroni Flores. That same year he made his first tour of Mexico and Cuba with the Vittone-Pomar theater company. The cast included the tenor singer José Muñiz, the actresses María Esther Podestá, Olinda Bozán and also, according to some, the young Libertad Lamarque.
On his comeback he was summoned by Francisco Canaro to travel to Paris with an orchestra comprised by Juan Canaro and Marcucci on bandoneons, Agesilao Ferrazzano and the leader on violins, Rafael Canaro on contrabass and musical saw, Romualdo Lomoro on drums and Fioravanti Di Cicco on piano. The debut at the Dancing Florida of Paris was in April 1925.
He is already considered as one of the greatest players. Zucchi tells us: «He and Minotto were the precursors of the virtuoso stream in bandoneon playing. He was a great technician but also with great gifts for interpretation. His arrangements were complex and, undoubtedly, his most important piece was "Aires españoles", the first piece written for solo bandoneon, in 1924. There is also his outstanding variation on his tango "Mi dolor". His early duos with Salvador Grupillo do not evidence his true capabilities, they are very simple, with nothing to highlight. He possessed a high technical command, an amazing fingering, and an overwhelming speed in his running variations performed with mathematical precision. It was his the iniciative of systematizing the solos played with both hands.»
He returned from Paris and put together a group of his own. He appeared at the best locals and at the Chanteclair, El Nacional, El Germinal and at the Metropol movie theater where he premiered "Mi dolor".
He firstly was one of the three kids, later one of the three "M's": Marcucci, Maffia, Minotto. He joined the "Los Cinco Ases Pebeco" to appear on Radio Stentor in 1935. They were four bandoneons, piano and reciter. Their names: Marcucci, Maffia, Laurenz, Ciriaco Ortiz, Sebastián Piana and Homero Manzi.
In 1936 the Sintonía magazine, directed by Arturo Kartulovich, -as well owner of the radio station La Voz del Aire and driver of race cars- organized, for his readers, a poll to choose the most outstanding musician in each instrument. The purpose was to form an all-star quintet.
The winners were Elvino Vardaro and Julio De Caro on violins, Francisco De Caro on piano, Pedro Maffia and Ciriaco Ortiz on bandoneons. Because of labor reasons Maffia withdrew and the third in the poll, Marcucci, took his place.
Under the name "Los Virtuosos" they made their debut in November 1936 on Radio El Mundo. On that day they played, among other pieces: "Chiclana" and "Tierra querida" that, with "Un lamento" and "El tirabuzón", were recorded in 1937.
In 1936 he married the pianist Teresa Benedetti. Since 1951 to 1957 he joined the Radio Splendid staff orchestra conducted by Francisco Trópoli.
His sextet finally was committed to record after 1929. It was lined up by Salvador Grupillo in his section, the violinists Luis Gutiérrez del Barrio and Mario Saiovich, Adolfo Krauss on double bass and Alberto Soifer on piano.
Lito Bayardo said about him: «I met him when he was member of the De Caro Orchestra. Félix Lipesker introduced him to me. One day he made me hear a melody he had just composed, he asked me to write lyrics to it and soon later I read to him the lines I had titled "Esta noche". De Caro premiered it in 1939 with Héctor Farrel on vocals. A few days later Azucena Maizani called me very interested about it. Quite soon she premiered it at the Teatro Nacional.»
He expressed his musical knowledge in a book written in collaboration with Félix Lipesker: "Método moderno para bandoneón". On the front cover, in a smaller font size we can read: "First bandoneon school. Four courses in only one book. From the elementary stage to the superior level. Price 70 pesos."
At the prologue Manzi says: «Both musicians do not belong to the stage of the intuitive players and composers. They are new boys that approached popular music through the door of the studious effort.»