Oscar Zucchi

e was a popular musician that carried out the most important stage of his busy professional activity in the second and third decades of the twentieth century.

Above all, he was a player in the bandoneon section, similar to —according to what maestro Gabriel Clausi told us— the Adolfo Pérez Pocholo’s style and, hence, to the old time trends linked to Juan Maglio Pacho’s playing.

His biographical information is rather scarce; the veteran bandoneonist Luis Famiglietti —brother of the famous Tano Francisco— commented to the writer of this work, that he had met Nicolás Primiani’s father, who was houseman worker in the facilities of Obras Sanitarias de la Nación (National Water Works) and that he was an Italian.

The earliest mention of his appearance dates back to 1919 when he was member of the staff orchestra of the Teatro Nacional, in which also played Juan D'Arienzo and Alfredo Mazzeo —aka El loco (The Madman)— on violins; Ángel D'Agostino on piano and Primiani and José Arturo Severino, known as La Vieja (The Old Woman), on bandoneons.

Around that time he played in Venado Tuerto, province of Santa Fe, with a large orchestra led by Juan Maglio Pacho. There is a photograph of that aggregation that shows the following members identified by another of its members, maestro Rafael Rossi. Bandoneons: Juan Maglio, Nicolás Primiani and Rafael Rossi; Violins: El Pibe (The Kid) Rossi —no relationship with Rafael—, Salvador Viola and Benito Juliá; Piano: Carlos Ghío; Flute: José Galarza —also drummer—. This same aggregation appeared in the province of Córdoba and later at the Teatro Artigas in Montevideo (Uruguay).

On this occasion he traveled with the Arata-Simari-Franco theatrical Company where he had the opportunity to back up, with the orchestra, the famous dancing couple comprised by El Mocho (David Undarz) and his dancing partner Amelia, aka La Portuguesa.

Around 1920 he fronted a group of his own when the Cine Real was opened. It was the first one which used to keep three orchestras: Jazz band, in this case, led by the renowned banjoist Nicolás Verona; its pianist was Lucio Demare; Classical orchestra, conducted by maestro Fontova and the mentioned Orquesta Típica led by Nicolás Primiani which was lined up as follows: bandoneons: Nicolás Primiani and Domingo Julio Vivas —later a Gardel’s guitarist—; Violins: Vicente Russo and Emilio Puglisi; piano: Eliseo Ruiz.

The pianist of this orchestra, a good musician and an excellent person, now deceased, in an interview given to the author, said this in connection with the bandoneon playing of the well-remembered Pindeca: «Within the limitations of the period, he held his own; he was neither Maffia, nor Laurenz, nor even Marcucci, who had a great technique, but he was a correct player».

In 1923 he joined a large aggregation which was fronted by the very famous clarinet player of the Guardia Vieja (Old Guard), Juan Carlos Bazán —aka El Gordo Mamadera (Fats Baby’s Bottle)—, composer of the tango “La chiflada” which bears the same name of the one composed by Aieta.

Its personnel was the following: J. C. Bazán, clarinet and leadership; Bandoneons: Ciriaco Ortiz, Nicolás Primiani and Lechuguita (Little Lettuce) Ernesto Bianchi; Violins: Alcides Palavecino, Esteban Rovati, Vicente Russo; Piano: Vicente Gorrese —Kalisay—; Double bass: Humberto Costanzo; Drums: Domingo Martino —kettle drummer at the Colón—; Banjo: Nicolás Verona.

This lineup appeared at the 1922/23 summer season at the exclusive Club Pueyrredón in the city of Mar del Plata and thereafter he switched to the Casino Pigall with Juan Canaro. (c.1923)

In 1924 he played again with Maglio, but with a different aggregation in which Pacho only conducted, according to what the pianist of the group, Juan Polito, said in a personal interview.

This was its lineup: Bandoneons: Rafael Rossi, Nicolás Primiani; Violins: Elvino Vardaro, Emilio Puglisi and Juan Rigesti; Piano: Juan Polito; Bass: José Puglisi —aka El Tío (The Uncle)—.

Also in 1924 he joined a giant aggregation that Julio De Caro put together for the carnival balls held in the upper floor of the L’Aiglon tearoom on 143 Florida Street. It was a very large salon usually destined to boxing matches.

This exceptional lineup of players was as follows: Bandoneons: Luis Petrucelli, Pedro Maffia, Luis D'Abbraccio, Juan Bautista Guido, Ángel Danesi, Nicolás Primiani, Ernesto Bianchi, Graciano De Leone, Luis Minervini, Miguel Orlando; Violins: Julio De Caro, Agesilao Ferrazzano, Manlio Francia, Carlos Alberto De Caro, Miguel La Salvia, José Koller, Rafael Rinaldi, Jaime Ferrer, Domingo Petillo, Bernardo Germino, Pedro Festa; Pianos: Francisco De Caro, Roberto Goyheneche; Double basses: Leopoldo Thompson, Humberto Costanzo, Olindo Sinibaldi.

In 1925 one of the most important stages of the show business career of Primiani took place when he was among the founding members of the well-remembered Típica Victor whose existence was exclusively limited to the recording studios.

The initial core of the above aggregation included: Piano: Vicente Gorrese; Bandoneons: Luis Petrucelli, Ciriaco Ortiz, Nicolás Primiani; Violins: Agesilao Ferrazzano, Manlio Francia, Eugenio Romano —Buzón—, Nicolás Di Massi —Colino—; Double bass: Humberto Costanzo.

In 1926, in another lineup of the same aggregation, which frequently changed its personnel, on violins Elvino Vardaro, Manlio Francia and Antonio Buglione appear; and save for the unusual presence of Renato Zappignani on bassoon, there are no other changes.

That same year he came back to the Juan Carlos Bazán orchestra with these players according to a sheet music copy of the epoch: Clarinet: Bazán; Bandoneons: Ciriaco Ortiz, Nicolás Primiani, Luis D’Abbraccio; Violins: Alcides Palavecino, Bernardo Germino, Nicolás Di Massi; Piano: Luis Cosenza —aka El Loco—; Harmonium: Eliseo Ruiz; Double bass: Humberto Costanzo.

It dates back to about the same time his appearance in the orchestra headed by the bandoneonist Roque Biafore which was lined up as follows for its appearances at the Cine Metropol: Bandoneons: Roque Biafore, Nicolás Primiani; Violins: Eugenio Romano, Palmieri; Piano: Nicolás Vaccaro; Bass: Pascual Crimi.

In the 1927 summer season he returned to the Club Pueyrredón of Mar del Plata, but on this occasion as member of a group that included the following players: Piano: Vicente Gorrese; Bandoneons: Nicolás Primiani, Francisco Della Rocca —aka Chichula—; Violins: Eugenio Nobile, Antonio Buglione, José Rodríguez.

The pianist Gorrese recalled: «The Club Pueyrredón was a venue reserved for rich people; it was located within the Bristol beach. We were well paid, but when in 1929 the roulette was suspended, our lucky streak came to an end».

With a quite similar lineup he occupied in 1927 the customary post of Julio De Caro at the Select Lavalle under the leadership of the pianist Gorrese: Bandoneons: Nicolás Primiani, Francisco Della Rocca; Violins: Antonio Buglione, Bernardo Germino; Piano: Vicente Gorrese; Bass: Luis Bernstein; Singer: Luis Díaz.

After this short stint, always in 1927, we find Pindeca in the orchestra of the Ferrazzano-Pollero team with this personnel, which save for the presence of Mazzeo, corresponds to the photograph that appears in the sheet music copy of “Cuando tú me quisieras”. Piano and co-leader: Julio Pollero; Violins: Agesilao Ferrazzano (lead violin and co-leader), Eugenio Nobile, Cherniavsky, A. Mazzeo; Bandoneons: Salvador Grupillo, Nicolás Primiani; Cello: Nerón Ferrazzano; Double bass: Olindo Sinibaldi; Drums: Saly Nisguritzer. They recorded for the Victor company.

Another important appearance of Pindeca took place when he played as bandoneonist of the first orchestra led by D'Arienzo which succeeded in recording, as we all know, for the Electra label which had in its catalogues other tango groups like the ones of Cobián, Francisco Pracánico, Aieta, Alpidio Fernández, José Servidio, etc.

The members of this now historical aggregation were in 1928-29: Violins: J. D'Arienzo, Alfredo Mazzeo, Luis Álvarez —aka Cuervo (Crow)—; Double bass: José Puglisi; Piano: the one with the greatest number of changes, the following passed through its ranks: Lidio Fasoli, Luis Visca, Nicolás Vaccaro, Vicente Gorrese, Juan Polito, Alfonso Lacueva, according to the files; Bandoneons: Ciriaco Ortiz, Nicolás Primiani, Florentino Ottaviano; Singers: Carlos Dante, Francisco Fiorentino.

In 1928 Primiani reached another memorable stage in his career as bandoneon player of the brand-new orchestra of the exquisite composer and innovative pianist Juan Carlos Cobián which he put together to start his recordings for the Victor label, with the following probable personnel: Piano and leader: Cobián; Bandoneons: Luis Petrucelli, Ciriaco Ortiz, Nicolás Primiani and César Ginzo; Violins: Elvino Vardaro, Manlio Francia, Fausto Frontera, Bernardo Germino; Double bass: Humberto Costanzo; Singer: Francisco Fiorentino.

As you may see in the personnel list, several members of that aggregation belong to the Típica Victor itself.

Between 1929-1930 Primiani also played with the Anselmo Aieta orchestra in its recordings for the Columbia house whose staff was customarily added for these works: Bandoneons: Aieta, Mauro Scavone, N. Primiani; Violins: Juan José Gallastegui (lead violin), the remaining players were not identified; Piano: Juan Polito.

In 1934 we find Primiani appearing at the Café Franz y Fritz with the orchestra led by El Pibe Bernardo Germino, an excellent violinist of the period. It was lined up as follows: Piano: Francisco Devita; Bandoneons: Mauro Scavone, N. Primiani and Di Massi, brother of the violinist Nicolás Di Massi; Violins: Bernardo Germino, Ananía and, presumably, two more players.

The next year he switched to play at the Tabarís with the aggregation led by the bandoneonist Juan Canaro, whose members were: Bandoneons: Haroldo Ferrero, José Della Rocca, Alberto Cima. N. Primiani; Violins: Antonio Buglione, Marcos Larrosa, Juan Ríos, Francisco Oréfice; Double bass: Ausonio Pisani; Piano: no information.

Some of his compositions are the tangos “Juguete”, co-written with Salvador Grupillo, which was recorded by D'Arienzo in Electra N° series 769, electric system M 299, with Carlos Dante on vocals (c. 1928); “Julienne”, recorded by the Típica Victor for the Victor label, track 79897 recorded on August 1, 1927; “Pálida silueta” recorded by D'Arienzo in Electra 790 M 359 c.1928 with vocal refrain by Carlos Dante.

Ernié, Hector: "Discografía de Juan D'Arienzo en Electra", Revista Estudios de Tango, N° 10, 1972.
Ferrer, Horacio: El libro del Tango, 2nd. Edition.
Loriente, Horacio and Sierra L.: "Discografía de la Típica Victor", personal communication.
Zucchi, O.: "Vicente Gorrese", Revista Estudios de Tango N° 10, 1972.
Interviews of the author to the musicians: Juan Canaro, Eugenio Nobile, Juan Polito, Mauro Scavone, Eliseo Ruiz, Esteban Rovati, Francisco and José Della Rocca, Rafael Rossi, F. Frontera, C. Ginzo, Nicolás Vaccaro, Gabriel Clausi.
Interview to maestro Juan D'Arienzo in the Así Somos magazine, no date.

Excerpted from: El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes. Volume III. Editorial Corregidor, Buenos Aires: 2007.