Oscar Zucchi

boy of the southern area of the city of Buenos Aires, he walked along the streets of the neighborhood of Barracas which was located four blocks from the Riachuelo. There he grew up and the awakening of his love for music took place. An older brother had a bandoneon who played a few notes on it but he taught Luis the little he knew.

He attended grade school while he was learning to play the instrument. His teacher was an outstanding character of the area, a good player for that time, his name was Pedro Berardi. As soon as he was a teenager, he appeared at some backyard balls in the neighborhood, probably he played serenades and, later, in the nearby clubs: Brisas del Plata and La Perla de Piñeyro.

In 1918 he put together his first group, that soon thereafter had the brothers Carmelo and Fortunato Matino as sidemen. Among his important appearances is the one he made at the Cine Americano movie theater on San Juan Avenue with the pianist Victorio Pierre. The latter had taught him some concepts of music theory.

In 1925 Anselmo Aieta was playing at the Cine Select Buen Orden on 1525 Bernardo de Yrigoyen Street. There must have been a previous knowledge because the bandleader asked him to substitute for him at the L'Aiglon salon on Florida Street. Aieta’s sidemen at that time were Juan D'Arienzo and Alfredo Mazzeo (violins), Arturo Gallucci (piano) and José Puglisi (double bass). One year later they switched to the café Germinal (Corrientes 948) and at the Bar Guarany (Lavalle 855). At the former place the famous Moresco’s variation for “La cumparsita” was composed. Everybody played it as time went by, the arrangements were numerous, but what Moresco wrote remained even though nobody mentioned the composer.

Playing along with Aieta placed him higher and he teamed up with Juan Polito who had been Juan Maglio’s sideman. He was lead bandoneon and they succeeded at El Germinal again and, later at the Moulin Rouge where Alfredo Marino, the author of the lyrics of “El ciruja”, was added as refrain singer.

Around 1927 the D'Arienzo-Polito team was formed —with Moresco, of course—. They appeared at the carnival balls at the Palais de Glace along with the jazz group Los Filipinos. Later, both came back to their own things. They briefly appeared in some recordings for the Columbia label with the Aieta’s orchestra which was led by Alberto Castellanos.

In 1931, after splitting with Polito, he joined the group that Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores had put together for an European tour. In the bandoneon section his peers were César Ginzo and Héctor Presas. It was known as Orquesta Argentina del Maestro Flores. They recorded in Spain for His Master’s Voice (Victor), including recordings of the three bandoneons of the tango “Criolla linda”. They did not received a wide public acclaim. The failure was so great for Flores that he did not return to our country and he settled in Portugal with his piano and his paintings (another of his abilities). So he stayed until he died in 1953.

Polito said about him: «He was completely intuitive and played with two or three fingers, but you have to play what he played. He was quite different to the other boys of his time. He dressed differently. I recall him with those Oxford trousers so wide at the bottom. On a performance day the movie director known as Negro Ferreira arrived, came to me and told me: “-Che!, I would like that bandoneon player for a role in a movie I’m shooting.” It was his last silent movie Perdón viejita. I told Moresco about it and he replied: “-No!, I don’t want to, I just play bandoneon”. But with Luis Visca’s help, who was there, we finally persuaded him».

«The scene he had in the movie took place at a cheap café in a tough area and Moresco was dressed as a poor guy with a scarf hanging on his chest. He had a look that was opposite to what he looked like in real life. At the sequence a woman that was smoking appeared and, after a few words, he had to slap her on her face so that the cigarette would fall from her lips. Also a cop had to appear but as there was neither an actor nor an extra to impersonate him they brought a true one from the corner of the street. They started to rehearse and the slappings were not credible. “—Stop the scene!—” shouted Ferreyra. “-But you are caressing her, be more natural-”. Bigote was a strong man and apologized: “-But I’m afraid”. “-Afraid of what?”–, Ferreira continued, “be natural”. He gave her such a slap that he made her jump in the air and so the scene was shot. Then the cop approached him and, in like manner, was so strong the way he pushed him that he fell against the scenery and a nail pierced his buttock and so a true painful expression was caught in the movie. There was laughter by the ones who were witnessing the shooting».

And Juan Polito ends the story: «We persuaded him to go to the premiere. When he appeared on the screen, Visca and I shouted “There you are, Bigote!”. The room was dark of course and he, annoyed, told us: “Shut up, boys, that people can see me!”» Even though the film was silent, there were sound parts with musical numbers. So María Turguenova sings “Perdón viejita [b]”, same title as the tango by Osvaldo Fresedo and José Saldías, but in this case we don’t know the authors.

Later when there were sound movies, Ferreyra summoned him again for Muñequitas porteñas. Turguenova sang the tango which is the title song but in singular, with music by Moresco and lyrics by the actor Floren Delbene.

Moresco and his orchestra worked until the late thirties. He composed very few pieces and always he is remembered as the author of the variations. As for the one of “La cumparsita”, Héctor Artola said that they sounded like little bells over the orchestra background. Also belonged to him the one he made for the tango of his friend Juan Polito, “Se mira y no se toca”.

Other tangos of his: “Aves de medianoche” and “Otario”, recorded by Juan Maglio (1928); “Por darte rienda” with lyrics by Luis Rubistein, recorded by Ignacio Corsini (1930); “Por mishé”, recorded by D'Arienzo with Carlos Dante (1928) and “Yo tengo un puñal”, with words by José Terragno, recorded by Rodolfo Biagi with Carlos Acuña (1943).

Zucchi, Oscar: El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes, volume III, Corregidor: Buenos Aires.