Néstor Pinsón

o write this portrayal I turned to the researchers who knew this great musician of Rosario and so I collected some interesting evidences about the figure of the maestro.

Oscar Zucchi, the greatest researcher on bandoneon history and its players, interviewed him in 1987 and, since then, he was in touch with him, went to several of his performances as soloist and, as well when he appeared with his trio:

«Antonio Ríos, together with Julio Ahumada, were the best bandoneonists born in that city. An alumnus of Abel Bedrune (a musician regarded as the Canaro of Rosario because of his deserved popularity), but he was more important as teacher than as an instrumentalist and composer.

«Eduardo Rovira said that for him Ríos was the sound of the bandoneon in its state of purity and that he, Alfredo Gobbi and Orlando Goñi were the last three great intuitive musicians of tango. But in the case of Ríos it was not only intuition. He studied, he was a great player of classical music and teached. One of his students was Miguel Varvello.

«Ríos regarded the bandoneon as a complete instrument and which is not only confined to tango. Its possibilities are greater, much richer.

«He had a precise fingering, obtaining from his instrument a full sound without distortion. His playing with a stony, serious face brought me an imposing image. A static one. Only the movement of his fingers. All his expressiveness came his sound, with no need of bodily extroversions like kicking or shaking his hair. He was completely solemn and majestic. He and his instrument were a unity. Furthermore, his life was very hazardous, quite sad. He was never able of setting apart his stubborn bohemian habits and lead a fairly normal life».

Julián Ortiz, the one who wrote about the famous “Pensión de la calle Salta”, a small book that presents short biographies of the most outstanding musicians that paraded along the “La Alegría” (the true name of the boarding house on 321 Salta Street). He wrote as follows:

«At age 18 he arrived in Buenos Aires with two fellow bandoneon players, Deolindo Casaux and Guillermo Uría. They had been summoned by a fourth man from Rosario, Juan Rezzano, to join the orchestra he was putting together. But as the debut never came they accepted the offer from Cayetano Puglisi to appear at the “Charleston Club” on Florida Street. The refrain singer was Antonio Rodríguez Lesende.

«Since then, while living in the boarding house, he joined popular outfits such as those of headed by Francisco Lauro at the “Dancing Bambú” on Corrientes and Esmeralda, at the tango orchestra led by Manuel Buzón on Radio El Mundo, in the Miguel Caló’s and Argentino Galván’s orchestras on Radio Belgrano.

«Four years later Nicolás Vaccaro gave him the chance to write some charts and being the lead bandoneon to appear at the “Dancing Novelty” on 473 Esmeralda Street, one of the widest, most modern and elegant saloons of Buenos Aires. They shared the stage with the then famous “Jazz Savoy”, fronted by the “Negro Esteban”, a respected trumpeter at that time. The big orchestra with two pianos with Emilio Barbato and Carlos Parodi was a boom for the frequent attendants to the dancehall and was one of the best groups between 1939/41. But outside that environment it had no popular acclaim because they neither appeared on the radio nor they recorded. Other members were Julio Ahumada, Tití Rossi and Alberto San Miguel (bandoneons) and Víctor Scholz and Antonio Casanova (violins).

«Antonio Ríos became, definitively, one of the players with the most harmonious sound, polished technique and a expressiveness that deeply rooted in tango. He was the lead bandoneon of the shortly-lived Orlando Goñi Orchestra.

«In 1944 he wrote the charts and put together the orchestra that backed Roberto Rufino to debut at the Café Marzotto and on Radio Belgrano. Quite soon he left our Capital to return to Rosario».

Also the Rosario journalist and researcher, Gerardo Quilici tells us:

«By 1950 he joined the local orchestras headed by José Sala, Luis Chera and Los Grandes del Tango. Thereafter he decided to form his own aggregation with which he appeared on the main radio stations.

«In 1955 he formed the quartet Los Poetas del Tango with Antonio Agri (violin), José Puertas (piano) and Omar Murtagh (double bass). He briefly returned to our city for some gig. We have to highlight when in 1970 he was invited by Astor Piazzolla to appear in the recording of the tango “Recuerdos de bohemia” arranged by Astor for four bandoneons. The other players were Leopoldo Federico and Rodolfo Mederos.

«By then he began the recording of a long-playing record with Roberto Grela that, due to his inconstancy, was not completely recorded and its numbers were not released either.

«Encouraged by the Grupo Rosarino de Tango he returned to the milieu fronting a trio that included the guitarist Carlos Velázquez and José Ríos on double bass».

After he died his admirers, with the auspices of the government of the city of Rosario, published a disc that included a part of his appearances and material that was digitally processed. It contains the following recordings: “Boedo”, “Tabernero” (both from an acetate taken from one of his appearances on radio in the early 50s, with orchestra); with “Los poetas del tango”: “Lo que vendrá”, “Mal de amores”, “Amurado”, “Desorientado” (Raúl Encina on vocals), “Orgullo criollo”, “Griseta”; and, lastly, recordings of 1981 with live performances with his trio or as a soloist: “Adiós Nonino”, “Berretín”, “Clavel del aire”, “De antaño” (P. Laurenz), “Horas amargas” , “La cumparsita”, “Palomita blanca”, “Recuerdo”, “Ensueños”, “La calle 92” (Piazzolla), “Sentido único” (Piazzolla), “Vals de las flores” (Tchaikovsky), “Sin tacha” (Laurenz) and “La casita de mis viejos”.