Musician, bandoneonist, leader and composer
(1 February 1898 - 5 October 1945)
Nickname: El Lecherito
he legendary and popular neighborhood of Parque de los Patricios has been the cradle of many figures of remarkable value within the tango expressions. Among them, Juan Bautista Guido, known as "El lecherito" (the young milkman) deserves being remembered and cited; he was an authentic ace of the bandoneon of his time.
Born on February 1st, 1898, in our city, there he went to elementary school and only because his family wanted it he learnt the craft of carpenter. The noise coming from saws and large planes was defeated by the sounds the apprentice was dreaming of interpreting some day. He soon left them to fully devote to the passion that burnt his heart since he was six. Since then, the day he played some notes on an old accordion, musical vocation fully absorbed him.
He was only thirteen when he started to play together with the one that would be his teacher, a virtuoso player, like him, neighbor and famous interpreter of the "guardia vieja" (old stream): Arturo Severino, a well-remembered tango composer, he wrote, among others, "La bicoca", "El trompito Nº 2" and "Metele bomba al primus".
Such was the dedication and capacity evidenced by Guido, that soon his teacher invited him to join a group that he led, three bandoneons, three violins, three guitars and a flute. That is to say: he was just a teen-ager playing at an orchestra and interpreting on the same kind of instrument as the leader did. That was premonitory: "El lecherito" (his youth and the fact that his father sold milk products originated that nickname) he had the capabilities to be a star and so he proved throughout his short life.
In 1913 -Guido is 15 years old-, he puts together a trio with violin and guitar to debut at the café "43", in the neighborhood he was born, 2459 Caseros Avenue. This tango center got its name because of the great number of workers and employees of the tobacco establishment of the Piccardo company located on 1720 Uspallata Street which manufactured the cigarettes that made that number so popular.
The café, also known as "La fonda", witnessed the parade of great interpreters of the period on its small stage and it included among its customers, besides the great number of neighbors gathered, recognized composers, with whom they held healthy mono-thematic arguments. We know that among its customers were José Rial, Guillermo Barbieri -both authors of the popular waltz "Rosa de otoño", and that singer Luciano Cardelli "el tanito" who duetted with "el negro".
The successful performance, in the neighborhood, raised his position and allowed him to switch to play together with the pianist Samuel Castriota at the balls of the now disappeared Café Olimpo (1461 Pueyrredón Avenue). The same local where the renowned Benito Bianquet "El Cachafaz" made his choreographic shows.
Soon thereafter, Guido played at the famous "Casa de Laura" (Laura´s Place) as member of the group that the remarkable name of tango, Vicente Greco, put together to polish and spread our music. By the side of the composer of "Ojos negros" he completed his knowledge of the "fueye" (bandoneon), also having experience with first level players.
In 1916, with the pianist José María Rizzutti -who achieved experience by his side-, he put together a quintet that would become famous, whose other members were Nicolás Di Massi and Ghernichi on violins and José Galarza on flute. That quintet appeared, with an outstanding success, at the café "La morocha" and at the barroom "Los leones" where, for unknown reasons, Agesilao Ferrazzano replaced Di Massi. The boom of the outfit made that it worked downtown for nearly a year at the "Tabarís", a venue where "the tiger of the bandoneon" Eduardo Arolas had displayed his mastery.
When the quintet disbanded, Guido joined a quartet with Rocatagliatta and José Rossito on violins and "El Chon" Eduardo Pereyra, on piano. They played at the "Parisién" café on Alvear avenue where "El lecherito" was invited, with an advantageous pay, to work with the maestro Roberto Firpo, side by side with instrumentalists like Cayetano Puglisi, Elvino Vardaro and José Servidio.
Guido is already at the top level and he is recognized as a star by musicians and public. After several seasons with the composer of "El amanecer", his intention of showcasing the individual instruments resulted in the creation of a small outfit, this time with the pianist Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores.
Not much time later his neighborhood is happy to have him back playing with his old but not forgotten teacher Severino in the heart of the "Parque": the "Benigno" café on 2177 Rioja Street.
In an old program from our archives, as a true testimony, we read: "Month of July 1929. Cine Teatro Suipacha. 442 Suipacha Street. The theater preferred by families. Three great orchestras. Gordon Stretton Symphonic Jazz Band, Suipacha Classical Orchestra, Típica Criolla Juan B. Guido. Everyday from 6:10 PM and 10:10 PM. Remarkable success of the acclaimed national singer Carlos Gardel, accompanied by the guitarists Aguilar and Barbieri."
There is nothing more explicit about his career: he shared shows on stage with the top level singer of all times who, by the way, committed to record his tangos "Coquetita", "Muñeca de carne" and "Tarde Gris".
On another of his outstanding shows, like the one at the cine Real, he was featured together with well-known colleagues like Adolfo Carabelli and the Magaldi-Noda duo.
Radio stations had him among their most requested performing artists. He was at the opening broadcast of the radio station LR5 Radio Excelsior and he was often heard on many others.
As we can see, our musician, had his best times in the 20s and in the early 30s, when he was regarded as an outstanding number as it is evidenced by his radio shows, and gigs at cabarets, ballrooms and cafés.
His important record output, made for the Victor label between 1928 and 1930, which meant around 80 pieces, indicates his activity in terms of quantity, but if we want to appreciate the high value of his interpretative quality we have to turn to serious collectors.
The Victor orchestra was composed of its leader, Guido, and Domingo Plateroti, on bandoneons; Elvino Vardaro, Alcides Palavecino, Eugenio Menjolou and Emilio Puglisi on violins; Alfredo Corletto on double bass and Pedro Vergez on piano. On some occasions the chorus or, the refrain as it was used then, was sung by Juan Lauga, brother of Pedro, who had a renowned performance through the ranks of the maestro Julio de Caro.
Body ailments made difficult for him, since then, to keep his heavy bulk of work, so his performances were gradually less, until in 1945 the watercolor painter Lopecito invited him to play at the radio show "De Villoldo a Gardel", joining its tango orchestra. With it, in spite of his bad health, he made some tours throughout the interior of the nation until his demise that took place on October 5, 1945.
He composed, besides those already mentioned, the tangos "No
vuelvas a mentir", "Linda estampa", "Mi piba",
piba", "Uno menos", "Tito", "Pa'que
veas", "Buen Amigo" with the same name as Julio de
Caro´s, "La uruguayita", "Alma triste",
"Dempsey", "Mucho corazón" and "Yo
les quiero preguntar".
Like his colleague bandoneonists of that period, Francisco Peña; Antonio Bonavena; Julián Divasto, Mocciola and Antonio Sureda, he specialized in playing and composing valses criollos (rural waltzes). In this genre he composed "Mi hechicera".
Published in "Hombres de Tango y el Barrio", fascicle No. 17 of the Ateneo de Estudios Históricos "Parque de los Patricios". April-June 1974.