Oscar Zucchi

e was born in Buenos Aires. He was a player with a good technique and a disciple of Arturo Bernstein’s. His peer and long time friend Gabriel Clausi, (El Chula), even though several years his junior, recalled the following:

«He lived at a lumberyard on Independencia and Mármol Streets where he had a room he shared with a striking brunette. He used to play softly, legato, with a style and sound quite similar to Pedro Maffia; very good sound. I think he was underrated, he deserved a greater recognition. Even in his temper and gestures he was like Pedrito. He was rather shy and not much talkative.

«Thereafter he lived on 249 Guayaquil Street. I used to go to his place to rehearse because he had two bandoneons, one standard and another one smaller, one of those known as “for study”. He was very fond of me and when he gave me some written music he used to write some dedication: “To my student and friend”, but in fact I did not study with him.»

Later on, Romeo devoted to teaching and had alumni with a deep tango feeling like Juan Miguel Rodríguez, (Toto).

In 1922, he was founding member of the first orchestra led by Francisco Lomuto, comprised by his brother Enrique (piano) and Pedro Polito along with Romeo (bandoneons), and the clarinetist Carmelo Aguila, among others.

That same year he joined the group fronted by Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores to play at the café El Palacio de los Billares in the neighborhood of Flores. There he played alongside his peer César Ginzo. By that time he was member of the Roberto Firpo’s aggregation and also played with Juan Bautista Guido and José Schumacher, (El Inglesito).

In the summer of 1923, he joined the group headed by Juan Carlos Bazán, and played in the two-bandoneon section with Ciriaco Ortiz. Raimundo Petillo was on piano. They used to play almost exclusively for the famous venues of the communities: Unione e Benevolenza, (Cangallo 1372), Patria e Lavoro (Chile 1567) and the Casal de Cataluña (Chacabuco 863).

He again joined Lomuto in 1925, with a three-bandoneon section, always Polito and now Ricardo Brignolo included. They played for several summer seasons at the Club Pueyrredón of Mar del Plata and also on radio, LOY Radio Nacional (later Radio Belgrano).

In 1928, after an absence, Juan Carlos Cobián reappeared with an important aggregation in the recording studios of the Victor company. Juan Carlos Cobián and René Cóspito were on piano. The violinists were Elvino Vardaro, Manlio Francia, Fausto Frontera, Bernardo Germino and Vicente Russo. Luis Petrucelli, Ciriaco Ortiz, César Ginzo and Romeo on bandoneons. Krauss was on double bass and Francisco Florentino was the refrain singer.

For the carnival balls of 1929. he joined the Minotto Di Cicco’s outfit. The virtuoso played along with Romeo, Clausi, Miguel Caló, Luis Minervini and the Bianchi brothers.

He was leader of short-lived groups and was sideman for orchestras led by others. With them there were appearances at the Cine Cóndor on Pedro Goyena Street. The Café Buen Gusto, on José María Moreno and Asamblea. And with his peer José Mocciola, at the Cine-Teatro Dante of La Boca and at the small square on José María Moreno and Chiclana.

His latter appearances were probably teaming up Romeo-Spinelli, with the singer Roberto Morel.

As composer his most well-known numbers were: the tangos “Agarrá viaje”, recorded by Lomuto in 1925; “El borrador”, by Firpo in 1922; “La vuelta al mundo”, by Firpo in 1925; “Pipiolo”, by Di Cicco in 1930; “Retazo”, by Lomuto in 1923. Other three tangos without references were “Dicho y hecho”,“La gran familia”, and “Flor de ceibo”.

From his many waltzes the one that stood out most is, no doubt, “Un placer”, with lyrics by Andrés Alietti. It was committed to record for the first time by Firpo for Nacional records in 1922. Later would come the renderings of Juan Maglio with Carlos Lafuente, Juan D'Arienzo with Walter Cabral, José Basso with Floreal Ruiz and Alfredo Belusi (duo), Aníbal Troilo and the Cuarteto Troilo-Grela, both as instrumentals. Of course, there are many more.

Other waltzes were: “Seductora” and “Perlas y lágrimas” with lyrics by Carlos Pesce.

A curiosity that lead us to think that when something is meant to last through time it achieves its purpose despite the existing obstacles. As it happened with “Un placer”.

By that time —1921— there was no entity that fought for composers’ rights. Each composer wrote his work in the music staff and, whenever he managed, he made it be published by a publishing house or privately. Romeo, on his own, tried to persuade several publishers to publish his number. But after many attempts, tired of failing in getting an affirmative answer, he threw away the papers with the music and forgot about them. One year later he went with Firpo to play in Rosario. One evening when he was dining at a cheap inn an unknown small group began to play that sentimental waltz he had discarded. Those musicians had found the written music he had thrown away. The audience’s response drew their attention. On their comeback to our capital city, Firpo immediately recorded it, of course, mentioning Romeo as composer on the record label.

From the book El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes 2nd. part, Volume III.