Abel Palermo

on of Justo and Teresa Peirano, he was born in Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of Villa Crespo. His interest for music started when he was a child, with a bandoneon that his father had bought for his elder brother, Miguel, who, finally, would not have vocation for music.

He began the study of the instrument with his uncle Reinaldo Peirano. He later continued with a friend of his father’s, he was no other but Anselmo Aieta, and later he completed it with Mario Maurano.

At age 14 he made his début as a professional in Aieta’s aggregation and a few months later he joined the orchestra led by Manuel Buzón in the bandoneon section alongside Antonio Ríos, Eduardo Marino and Cachito Presas.

In 1932 he joined the big orchestra led by Francisco Lomuto, and performed as well temporarily in the Visca-D'Arienzo Orchestra. His partners were Juan José Visciglio and Domingo Moro, important musicians in the early stage of the orchestra led by the Rey del Compás (The Rhythm King).

When he was only 18, but with a thorough musical training, he joined the most important sextet of the decade, the one led by the violinist Elvino Vardaro. That outfit was lined up by the violinist Hugo Baralis, the young bandoneonist Aníbal Troilo, the double bass player Pedro Caracciolo and on piano, another young player, Osvaldo Pugliese. Their debut was at the cabaret Tabaris on April 1, 1933. They later switched to the Café Germinal where they appeared to a extraordinary success; the audience named them: Sexteto Germinal.

Due to financial problems they disbanded in 1935. Fernández, Troilo and Baralis joined the Ángel D'Agostino Orchestra. Fernández had a brief tenure because he returned to join Vardaro and so he reunited with Eduardo Marino. The vocalist in the Sexteto Vardaro was Francisco Alfredo Marino, author of the tangos “El ciruja” and “El batidor”. In July 1937 the bandoneon player Marino, together with Baralis, joined the brand-new orchestra put together by Aníbal Troilo in which he would stay for 38 years.

In 1938 Fernández and Vardaro apppeared along with Juan Baüer in the Cuarteto del Novecientos, whose leader was the pianist and later the consecrated accordionist Feliciano Brunelli.

During 1940 and 1941 he joined the aggregation led by Rodolfo Biagi, and, the following year he made his début with his own orchestra on Radio Mitre. He appeared to great success and, because of that, Radio Belgrano offered him a very interesting contract. Also for three years he was exclusive artist at the Café El Nacional and at the Salon des Ambassadeurs.

In 1946 he formed a team with the singer Jorge Ortiz who had split with Biagi. The partnership only lasted one year. After the breakup, Fernández with his orchestra joined Radio El Mundo where he stayed until 1950.

The following year he was summoned by the record label Pampa, recently created by the Odeon company. He recorded a 78 rpm disc with two instrumentals: “Arrabal”, a composition by the pianist of his orchestra, José Pascual, and a piece by Astor Piazzolla, “Contratiempo”.

In 1952 he appeared on the television Channel 7 with his singer Alberto Aguirre, who in the sixties would be well known as author and folk singer under the sobriquet Cholo Aguirre.

Orquesta Jorge Argentino Fernández

Later the Fernández’s orchestra switched to Odeon, and cut an important instrumental rendition of “La cumparsita” and the waltz “Rosa de otoño (Rosas de otoño)” with Aguirre on vocals.

As from 1960, as a result of the vogue of the music promoted by the record companies, the fatidic «new wave» (nueva ola), all what was connected to tango began to disappear. The large tango ensembles disbanded or became smaller. Fernández chose to form a quartet.

He only recorded again in 1967 for the label Disc Jockey. The following year he appeared for a season on Radio Nacional as a duo with the pianist José Pascual.

In 1970 he recorded his last long-playing disc. A few years before he had already joined the state oil company Y.P.F., where he reached important offices until his retirement.

I used to meet this excellent musician in our beloved neighborhood of Santa Rita in Villa del Parque to chat and so I learned a lot about our tango. He undoubtedly was one of the artists that brought hierarchy and contributed to develop our city music, not only as a player and leader, but also as composer. An evidence of that are his beautiful tangos: “Pena de amor”, “Otra vez” and “Ayer y hoy”.