Abel Palermo

e was born in the neighborhood of Liniers, on the west side of the city of Buenos Aires, on 721 Martiniano Leguizamón Street. When he was a kid his parents sent him to a music conservatory nearby where he was taught theory and music reading which would help him to develop the mystery of music and his own piano playing.

At age 16 he was called to be member of a quartet and, between 1937 and 1938, he accompanied the singer Roberto Chanel on the Prieto and Splendid radio stations, as well as different shows.

After a short tenure in the orchestra led by Enrique Rodríguez, in 1940, he formed his own quartet along with the violinist Oscar Herrero until the latter joined Emilio Orlando’s orchestra and Cupo joined, shortly, Florindo Sassone’s aggregation.

Only after 1950 he would begin his most outstanding stage. In 1952 he was summoned by the unsurpassable Roberto Rufino to record for the brand-new Orfeo record company. The orchestra was lined up by: Elvino Vardaro, Tito Besprovan, Atilio Blanco, Fidel De Luca and Emilio Fariñas (violins), Edelmiro D'Amario (Toto), Pascual Mamone, José Dames and Luciano Leocata (bandoneons), Alcides Rossi (double bass) and Armando Cupo (piano and conductor).

Their debut on record was with the tangos “Tangueando te quiero” and “Flor campera”. Along that year the Rufino-Cupo team cut 10 numbers. The following year he was invited by Ismael Spitalnik to join his aggregation to back the singer Aldo Calderón, who had just split with Aníbal Troilo, in a series of recordings. They cut 14 recordings for RCA-Victor. The orchestra’s pieces were: Ismael Spiltanik, Leopoldo Federico and Fernando Tell (bandoneons), David Díaz, Tito Besprovan and Simón Broitman (violins), Alcides Rossi (double bass) and Armando Cupo (piano).

After this important experience his time of glory will come when the consecrated singer Alberto Morán summoned him to put together a backing orchestra that he was to lead.

It was a true challenge because he had to satisfy Morán’s fans who were used to the rhythm and beat of the Osvaldo Pugliese Orchestra. Most of the players Cupo hired were the ones who had been in the recording sessions for Roberto Rufino and the bandoneonist Pascual Mamone was summoned as arranger.

They cut the first record on August 26, 1954 with the tangos “No te engañes corazón” and “Avergonzado”. There were 46 recordings, the last ones were cut in May 1959: “Charlemos de amor” and “Quiero hablarte nuevamente”, with music by Roberto Giménez and words by Jorge Vilela.

In 1960 he invited his friends Hugo Baralis, Jorge Caldara and Kicho Díaz to join a quartet of noteworthy soloists which was called Estrellas de Buenos Aires, with Marga Fontana and Héctor Ortiz on vocals.

As from 1965 he joined the staff orchestra of Radio El Mundo. In 1967 the singer Miguel Montero summoned him to lead a backup aggregation for the recording of a long-playing record with 14 numbers for the Odeon label. The following year Morán was hired by RCA-Victor and again he hired his friend Cupo as conductor. They cut 24 recordings in two years which, together with the previous 46 of the first stage, resulted in a total of 70 recordings.

In the late 1968 the impresario Alejandro Romay, owner of the TV Channel 9, summoned him to front the staff orchestra of the program Grandes valores del tango. It was lined up by the most important musicians of the period: Hugo Baralis, Kicho Díaz, Armando Calderaro, among others.

In 1972 he was one of the founders of the Sexteto Mayor along with Fernando Suárez Paz and Reynaldo Nichele (violins), José Libertella and Luis Stazo (bandoneons) and Omar Murtagh (double bass). Their debut was at the La Casa de Carlos Gardel, on Jean Jaures Street, and their recordings were cut for Odeon.

In 1975 he put together his own sextet that appeared on Radio El Mundo and at the mythical venue Caño 14. In the 80s due to the circumstances which most musicians underwent such as the lack of interest for tango by impresarios, record companies, radio and television stations he decided quit his job.

As a composer he left: the tangos “Y no puedo olvidarte”, with lyric by Abel Aznar, “Una vida más”, with Mario Soto’s words and the instrumentals, “Bien de tango” and “Del setenta y tres”, among others.

He was a virtuoso pianist, with a milonguero style with a precise beat, always in the service of the singer to be showcased.