Abel Palermo

e was born in San Isidro, province of Buenos Aires. His parents, Juan and Lidia Cerradi, encouraged him from an early age to study piano and, at age 12, he made his debut on LS9 Radio La Voz Del Aire.

With the passing of time he was drawn to jazz, joining several groups. Between 1928 and 1930 Juan D'Arienzo, who had just signed with the Electra label and the Cabaret Florida, summoned him to replace the pianist Luis Visca. This first lineup put together by D'Arienzo was: Juan Navarro, Anselmo Aieta on bandoneons (later Ciriaco Ortiz, Nicolás Primiani, Florentino Ottaviano); Luis Cuervo and the leader himself on violins (later Alfredo Mazzeo was added); Luis Visca on piano (later replaced by Howard) and Alfredo Corleto on double bass (later Juan Puglisi). On vocals: Carlos Dante, firstly, and as from 1929, Francisco Fiorentino.

In 1930 he fronted the aggregation that accompanied Ernesto Famá who had split with Osvaldo Fresedo. They were together until the singer switched to the Francisco Canaro Orchestra. After that he was hired by Roberto Zerrillo becoming the main attraction of his orchestra up to the late 1940.

After this experience he played in his own orchestra at El Picadilly saloon and was featured as the main figure. His vocalists were Hugo Gutiérrez and Alberto Morales.

In 1946 he formed, with the vocalist Mario Landi, the Howard–Landi team and carried out a successful season at the cabaret Sans Souci and a tour of Uruguay.

The following year he joined the Francisco Lomuto’s orchestra and made a memorable tour of Spain. On his comeback the orchestra was dismembered and he again decided to form his own with a contract to appear at the mythical Café Marzotto on Corrientes Avenue. It was on that occasion when the unforgettable singer Miguel Montero joined them.

In 1949 Lomuto once again formed an orchestra and called him for the second time with the object of recording for RCA-Victor. Besides Howard on piano, consecrated names with a style more suitable to the period were required: Federico Scorticati, Marcos Madrigal, Ramón Álvarez and Héctor Vitale (bandoneons); Ernesto Gianni, José Carli, Carlos Taverna and Otelo Gasparini (violins), Alberto Celenza (double bass) and the vocalists Alberto Rivera and Miguel Montero. The latter was recommended by the pianist. Their debut on record was On October 6 with the tango “Muñequita”.

This important stage was interrupted by the leader’s death on December 23, 1950.

In the early 50s he put together a group with virtuoso players: Carlos Arnaiz and José Votti (violins); Domingo Donnaruma (double bass) and the vocalists Carlos Bermúdez and Marcelo Paz. He was a radio artist on Belgrano and Splendid, appeared at the most important venues of the Buenos Aires night scene and, furthermore, he cut eight numbers for the Orfeo label, 4 instrumentals and 4 with vocals, between 1953 and 1954.

In 1955 he joined the fashionable orchestra of that time, the one led by Héctor Varela whose Uruguayan pianist César Zagnoli had quit. At this stage, maybe the most brilliant and rewarding of his career, he evidenced all his instrumental capacity, especially his high rhythmic speed.

Furthermore, he was a prolific composer with beautiful pieces like “Y te parece todavía” and “Melodía oriental” which were hits and other less popular like “Hoy es tarde”, “De punta y taco”, “Radio amor”, “Esas cosas del corazón”, “Tus lágrimas benditas”, “No puede ser”, “Trovador mazorquero”, “Tu olvido y yo”, “Entre la lluvia”, “Duda”, “Son mentiras”, “Artillero”, “Milonga de arrabal”, among others.