Horacio Loriente

e was part of the pioneer bandoneonists, inspired by Pedro Maffia’s way which left behind the primitive stage of the so-called Guardia Vieja. An intuitive performer, who discovered the difficult secrets of the instrument, by ear, without teacher but with an admirable effort.

He was born in Barracas and he recalled his early professional debut at the Café La Nación (Maipú Street between Corrientes and Sarmiento) in a mixed orchestra led by Adelita Florio; it was back in 1916.

Later he toured throughout the province, along with Rafael Iriarte and Antonio Buglione, thereafter he joined the orchestra led by the violinist Agesilao Ferrazzano which was showcased at dancehalls.

In 1920, he joined the José Martínez’s orchestra, whose members were the leader and Juan Arcuri (bandoneons), Antonio Buglione and Emilio Ferrer (violins) and José Martínez (piano). They played at the roundabout of Avenida San Martín and Gaona. The outfit played at the carnival balls of 1921 at the Teatro Liceo, and later they joined the cast of the Compañía Vittone-Pomar when at the Teatro Politeama first and, later, at the Avenida was staged the one-act farce written by Manuel Romero El Gran Premio Nacional (July 1922).

There the tango by José Martínez and Manuel Romero, “Polvorín”, sung by the Uruguayan José Muñiz was premiered. The song was about a racing horse. The pianist and bandleader José Martínez headed a quintet with which they travelled to Montevideo to appear at the Teatro Urquiza. A friend, Fernando Ercolano, very fond of theater, recalled that when “Polvorín” was sung a horse sprang up among the stalls.

He temporarily split with Martínez and went to Montevideo to appear during the summer season at the Hotel del Prado as member of the Carlos Warren’s orchestra (1921/22). On his comeback to Buenos Aires he joined again the José Martínez’s aggregation for the reprise of El Gran Premio Nacional at the Avenida theater. In April 1923 they switched to the Teatro Smart, with the Arata-Simari-Franco theatrical company. The play El Rey del Cabaret was staged there, and the tango that was the title tune was sung by another Uruguayan performer: Juan Ferrari.

When he plit with Martínez he went on appearing at theaters. Now in the Morganti-Gutiérrez cast at the Teatro Maipú, fronting a trio, with the pianist Raimundo Petillo and the violinist Bernardo Germino. The play was En los bajos fondos de París, accompanying Manolita Poli who there premiered the famous tango “Buenos Aires”. This information, contributed by Pollet, denied that Carlos Morganti was the performer.

He continued his appearances in 1923 in the ranks of the pianist Roberto Goyheneche and with that outfit he was protagonist of the early radio shows of Radio Cultura. In the late 1923 Goyheneche disbanded his orchestra.

Then the Laurenz-Pollet’s group was born. They made their debut at the roundabout of San Martín and Gaona, with César Bertolotto (piano) and José Di Clemente and Emilio Marchiano (violins), switching thereafter to the cafes Cervantes and El Parque. Julio De Caro went to that venue looking for a bandoneonist in order to replace Luis Petrucelli. In fact he wanted Pollet but the latter did not accept and suggested his partner Pedro Laurenz instead. César Diodatti replaced Laurenz and Luis Visca substituted for Bertolotto.

In the summer of 1925 the orchestra led by Enrique Pollet appeared at the Café A.B.C., on Canning and Rivera, with only one bandoneon, Osvaldo Pugliese (piano), Emilio Marciano and Francisco Perrone (violins). Later he formed a new group to play at the Café El Parque: Enrique Pollet and Armando Blasco (bandoneons), Osvaldo Pugliese (piano), Fernando Franco and José Di Clemente (violins). At that season the tangos “Farolito de mi barrio” and “Noche de amor”, composed by Fernando Franco, were released.

Once again Julio De Caro tried to persuade Enrique to join his sextet and the story is repeated. This time Armando Blasco was the choice because Pollet, who also played in some recordings, decided to switch to the José Servidio’s orchestra at the Dancing Chantecler.

In 1927 he put together a new orchestra for the Cine Paramount theater on Lavalle Street. At the end of the season he disbanded the group. He used to play bandoneon solos at a variety show of a tearoom on Avenida de Mayo and Perú.

Soon thereafter he put together a new orchestra to appear at a traditional tango venue: the Café La Fratinola, on Patricios and Martín García: Enrique Pollet (bandoneon), Luis Brighenti (piano), Alberto Pugliese and Hermes Peressini (violins). The following year, 1928, he formed a trio with Luis Brighenti and Fausto Frontera on Radio El Abuelito.

For more than ten years since then he had been organizing orchestras for social balls, for some time he was member of the staff orchestra of Radio Prieto, sideman with Julio De Caro in all the large orchestras especially put together to appear at theaters with carnival balls. In 1932 he was lead bandoneon at the show La historia del tango, presented by Enrique Santos Discépolo at the Rural de Palermo and at the Teatro 18 de Julio of Montevideo. He was showcased in all the summer seasons at the Club Pueyrredón of Mar del Plata until 1939 when he decided to settle in Montevideo.

His debut was at the Tabarís, as member of the Orquesta Cachito, switching later to the Parque Hotel, Teatro Artigas and others. Its line-up was the following: Romeo Cernuschi (Cachito) piano, Enrique Pollet and Walter Ventrella (bandoneons), Mario Orrico and Julio Carrasco (violins), Arturo Morassi (double bass) and Carlos Burgos on vocals.

Later he joined the group headed by the pianist Juan Cao. They played at the seasons from 1940 to 1942 at the Hoteles Municipales and throughout 1941 they appeared at the Capitol on Piedras Street.

Furthermore, he contributed with his artistry playing bandoneon in the folk music orchestra led by maestro José Yanelli for three years. This group was spotlighted at the prime time of the radio station CX14 El Espectador.

The end of his career was a long tenure in the orchestra led by Rogelio Coll (Garabito) playing a repertory and a style which did not match his personal taste, but he, however, carried out his role professionally as always.

He also fronted a tango orchestra and played lead bandoneon with wide acclaim at a small venue named Confitería Mayo, close to the disappeared Teatro 18 de Julio. This important piece of information is owed to our friend Aníbal Oberlín, vocalist of the aggregation.

In the early 70s he was based again in Buenos Aires, in his neighborhood of Barracas where his life came to an end due to an absurd household accident.

We had the privilege of meeting him and he told us about his show business career at an AUDEM room in December 1969. Finally we have to say that he was not much interested in composition. His best known number is, no doubt, “Farolito de mi barrio”. But we can’t omit “De mi laya”, a beautiful tango included in the charts of the Luis Petrucelli’s orchestra.

Excerpted from: Loriente, Horacio: Ochenta Notas de Tango. Perfiles Biográficos, Ediciones de La Plaza, Montevideo 1998. Under the auspices of the Academia de Tango del Uruguay.