Abel Palermo

e was born in the neighborhood of Palermo, in the city of Buenos Aires, to a family home in which music and especially tango had an important value.

His father was the one who taught him the secrets of music theory and sight reading and his brothers —one of them violinist, and the other bandoneon player—, the mystery of musical instruments.

When he was a teenager, he devoted himself completely to violin. He polished his technique with his brother Fernando and thereafter with the great violinist of Rosario, Emilio Cantore.
At age sixteen he made his debut in the orchestra fronted by the Herrero brothers. Later he formed the Quinteto Catano-Herrero. Thereafter he joined the group of the pianist Armando Cupo until 1940 when he was summoned by Pedro Maffia.

The following year he joined the aggregation of Romeo Gentile and appeared on LR2 Radio Argentina. In 1942 he played in the violin section of the Emilio Orlando orchestra and appeared in the successful radio show Ronda de Ases on LR1 Radio El Mundo.

In the late 1943, a difficult situation occurred to Cacho when he was summoned by the unforgettable Alfredo Gobbi to join his aggregation. At the time of accepting the proposal the first violin of the Osvaldo Pugliese orchestra, Enrique Camerano, called him to play as second violin in the section. His peers in the section would be: Julio Carrasco and Jaime Tursky.

Herrero’s attitude when joining Pugliese would make Gobbi very angry. And they reconciled many years later. But he was right in his choice because he had a twenty-five year tenure in the orchestra. The first fifteen years were along with Camerano, Emilio Balcarce (that replaced Tursky) and Julio Carrasco, Francisco Sammartino (viola) and Aniceto Rossi (double bass).

In 1958, when Camerano quit —I think he was one of the most brilliant instrumentalists in the history of tango—, Herrero switched to first violin until 1968 when together with Osvaldo Ruggiero, Víctor Lavallén, Julián Plaza, Emilio Balcarce and Alcides Rossi they decided to split with orchestra and form the Sexteto Tango with Jorge Maciel on vocals. By that time Julián Plaza switched from bandoneon to piano.

Their debut was at the disappeared Caño 14 and they recorded for RCA-Victor their first long-playing record with the instrumentals: “La bordona”, “Adiós Bardi”, “Milonga del novecientos”, “Danzarín”, “Quinto año nacional” and “Amurado”; and with Jorge Maciel on vocals: “Sentimiento gaucho”, “Frente a una copa”, “Eso es el amor” and “Una canción”. He was member of the sextet until 1991 when he quit show business.

Along with Pugliese and the Sexteto Tango he appeared in recitals in Japan, China, the Soviet Union, France and in many American countries.

It is important to highlight his creative capacity. There are two of his works, the instrumentals “Nochero soy” (1956) and “Quejumbroso” (1959) that are regarded by musicians as pieces that especially represent modern composition in tango.

Also are important the numbers composed along with the poet Elizardo Martínez Vilas “Marvil”: “Descorazonado”, “El mate amargo”, “Porque no te tengo más”. These pieces were recorded by Pugliese with Alberto Morán on vocals.

Furthermore, with that orchestra he appeared in the movies in the film: “Mis cinco hijos”, co-directed by Orestes Caviglia and Bernando Spoliansky (1948). Likewise with the Sexteto Tango in: “Solamente ella”, directed by Lucas Demare and starring the following: Susana Rinaldi, Raúl Lavié, María Nieves and Juan Carlos Copes, among others (1975).

With the Sextet he appeared in 1974 in an unforgettable show at the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires.

I cannot end this portrayal without reminiscing the happy times of my youth between 1953 and 1960, mostly, thanks to Cacho Herrero.

Almost unknowingly I lived one of the most brilliant stages of Pugliese and his boys —as the maestro used to call his musicians—, and what can I say about his singers!: Alberto Morán, Juan Carlos Cobos, Miguel Montero and Jorge Maciel. They were all stars.

As I was a neighbor of him and thanks to my audacity I was lucky to get a good relationship with that famous musician. He, when the circumstances allowed it, he invited me for free to be at the balls where the orchestra played. And also on many occasions late at night he took me in his car to the corner of Nazca and Álvarez Jonte, near my home in Villa del Parque. For any kid at that time to have a friend like him was a great pride.