Abel Palermo

e was born in the locality of Vicente López, near the city of Buenos Aires. When he was a child his family moved to Santa Lucía, a town of the municipality of Arrecifes. His father, a musician, led a group that included mostly his own relatives.

At a young age he studied sight reading, harmony and guitar playing with his father and later, he continued with bandoneon. At age 16 he traveled to Buenos Aires because he was recommended to Alejandro Scarpino for an audition. Despite his young age the bandleader made him join his orchestra.

Soon his name was well-known in the tango milieu. His exquisite sound and his personal phrasing drew people’s attention. Due to these virtues he was invited to join many outfits. He joined the bandoneon sections of Enrique Mora, José Luis Padula, Luis Brighenti and Manuel Buzón.

In 1936 an important change in his career took place when he was summoned by Miguel Caló. The latter’s orchestra was then lined up by Osvaldo Pugliese (piano), Raúl Kaplún, Pedro Sapochnik, Pedro Pandolfi, Orestes Zungri (violins), Miguel Caló, Calixto Sallago and Américo Caggiano (bandoneons), Alfredo Sciarretta (double bass) and the singers: Carlos Dante and Alberto Morel.

The following year he switched to the orchestra led by Antonio Rodio which then included three first level bandoneonists: Antonio Ríos, Eduardo Rovira and Héctor Artola.

By that time as his capabilities as player and arranger were already well developed he was hired by the team Vardaro-Demare as lead bandoneon and orchestrator of the aggregation. They made their debut in 1938 on Radio Belgrano but soon thereafter Elvino Vardaro split up. Then the orchestra was led by Lucio Demare.

Mori became the main figure of the orchestra and, furthermore, he turned out the dearest friend of the composer of “Malena” until Lucio’s death in 1974.

In June 1938 they recorded the first two charts by Mori for the Odeon label: the Agustín Bardi’s beautiful tango “La racha” and on the other side, “Telón”, with Juan Carlos Miranda on vocals. After a rather long interval they resumed their recordings in October 1941 by committing to disc “Color de rosa”. So the period of greatest splendor of Demare’s orchestra began which included the contribution of the vocalist Raúl Berón, probably, in the most brilliant stage of his singing career.

In the mid- 1945 Demare quit his orchestra because, together with his old pals Agustín Irusta and Roberto Fugazot, was hired to appear in Cuba and in other countries of America.

The orchestra was put together again, partly, by the team formed by the violinist Raúl Kaplún and the singer Horacio Quintana. Mori did not stay with them because he was called to join the aggregation led by Ángel D'Agostino in which he worked until 1948.

That year he joined Joaquín Do Reyes as lead bandoneon and arranger, and so meeting again Elvino Vardaro. Other members of the orchestra were the Uruguayan pianist Cesar Zagnoli and the young vocalist Horacio Deval.

In 1952 we find him with the Juan Carlos Howard’s sextet which was also lined up by: Salvador Casare (the other bandoneon player), Carlos Arnaiz and Noti (violins), Domingo Donnaruma (double bass) and the vocalists Carlos Bermudez and Marcelo Paz.

In the early 1953 he went back to the D’Agostino Orchestra in which he stayed until 1959. Our musician was at his peak, not only because of his musical capacity in arranging and orchestrating but also due to the sound and the expressiveness he reached with his instrument. We can appreciate an example of this quality in “Café Domínguez”, recorded in August 1955 and which includes lines recited by Julián Centeya.

In the late 1959 he again joined Demare for the recording of a long-playing disc in which they backed Tania.

In 1965 he re-appeared along with the guitarist Bartolomé Palermo at the local “Palito 85” whose owner was Demare’s friend. It was located on the then called Cangallo Street 1185. They used to play as a trio. By that time he appeared on television on Channel 9 with a quintet lined up by Carlos Figari (piano), Carlos Arnaiz (violin), Héctor Davis (guitar) and Horacio Vivas (double bass).

In 1968 he was featured with the orchestra fronted by Figari for the recording of a disc for the Magenta label, again with Tania. They accompanied the latter on the stage of Cambalache, a venue run by the female singer.

Finally, he appeared for the last time on record for an unknown label with Demare, Arnaiz and the bass player Eugenio Pro, with Eduardo Adrián on vocals. A record which is very hard to get.

As a composer, he left: “Pensativo”, “Sensitivo” —with Mario Demarco—, and “Valsecito alegre” —with Juan Luis Garelli—. And with lyrics: “Evocando al tango” and “Recorro mi ciudad” -by Amanda Petarca- and “Soñando el regreso”, by Nélida Savi.

This exquisite musician, that filled so many hours of my life in the night of Buenos Aires, decided to return to Santa Lucía where he lived until his death. But he did not depart completely because he left behind his recordings, the testimony of his talent and his honesty. So it’s an act of strict justice this homage in Todo Tango.