Julián Ortiz
| Néstor Pinsón

e was another of the guys in our Pensión La Alegría, a boarding house on Salta Street. From a very young age his vocation for playing piano was evidenced and, so he did, with the instrument his elder sister, who discovered her brother’s liking, played and she was who became his first teacher.

He continued and furthered his training with the renowned Humberto de Nito (1891-1957) -the Anfiteatro Municipal of Rosario bears his name-, and he graduated in 1931 as teacher. Soon later, in his home town, he began to play in movie theaters when silent movies were projected. Thereafter he put together a group who soon was disbanded.

Like all young players who were not born in Buenos Aires, he was attracted to the great city and so, with some friends, he arrived here in 1937. Of course, he dropped by the guesthouse where he was accommodated with other boarders, four of them were also pianists. He rented a piano in the Casa Lottermoser for twenty pesos a month.

His first job was a deluxe one: Elvino Vardaro included him in his group for appearances at the Bar Germinal, on 942 Corrientes Street, when it still was a narrow street, and on Radio Belgrano, where the sextet played authentic tango concerts. He was later summoned by Argentino Galván to play jazz music with the Moonley Trovadors.

When the Vardaro boys got together with the Lucio Demare guys, they had two piano players, Lucio and Parodi. On Radio Belgrano they accompanied Nelly Omar and Charlo.

Thereafter he switched from one orchestra to another: Roberto Zerrillo, Pedro Maffia, Miguel Zabala (aka Zabalita), Pedro Laurenz, Los Zorros Grises, Enrique Forte -former violinist with Laurenz and composer of the tango “A Belisario Roldán” (1953)-, Joaquín Do Reyes, Héctor Artola and others.

His tenure with Joaquín Do Reyes was in 1964, his fellow players were: Máximo Mori, Mario Demarco, Santiago Coppola, Antonio Marchese (bandoneonists), Roberto Guisado, Aquiles Aguilar, José Nieso and Claudio González (violins), Osvaldo Monteleone (double bass) and the singer Ricardo Aguilar.

Several years before, his enormous ductility was pondered by the Rubistein brothers (1940), in their singing and playing academy and, when Mariano Mores quit to start his career alongside Francisco Canaro, he was called to occupy a position as piano teacher for those who went there.

In the late 40’s, when the Orquesta Los Zorros Grises went to Villa María (Córdoba), it was disbanded. The reason was that its leader, José García, had fell for a girl and stayed there. Parodi, stayed too, but due to a minor accident. He spent some time without playing and, when he recovered, he came back to Buenos Aires. He reappeared with a quartet at the elegant Lua night club, on San Martín Street in the 500 block, to good acclaim and they stayed for several years.

In the later years of his career, all his tango capacity was focused on him and that allowed him to have permanent jobs in venues like Cambalache, Bohemien Club, Malena al Sur and others. He also made a tour of Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

On June 22, 1983, he was especially invited to appear at the Auditorium of the United Nations, where he played as solo pianist a medley of tangos of the Carlos Gardel’s songbook.

As composer, he left, among others, the following pieces: “Ritornello”, “Florcita de callejón”, “Figurita repetida” (milonga), “La rosa y tú”, “Milonga antigua” (milonga), “A suerte y verdad”. When he decided to quit the music business, he continued with his task as composer and a large number of pieces remained unpublished.

As a finale, here is a short story about the guesthouse: One day, at noon, when we were all seated at the table eagerly waiting for our lunch, don Humberto, the owner, arrived. We used to call him Donald Duck. He placed the soup tureen on the table and left. When we lift the lid, we found out there was a brick inside. Morals: everybody together in the good and in the bad times, including the owner. That was the way we were all, and he was a giant of bohemian life, inebriated with moonlight, cigar smoke and poetry.