Néstor Pinsón

here are many musicians who began to play in their childhood but those who stood out passing through a large number of tango groups at a young age and joined, with a thorough experience, an orchestra that was a boom right from the start like the one led by José Basso, are not so many.

His father, a night creature and fond of the tango milieu, was the one who encouraged him, persuaded that it was better that he would learn music and play an instrument as soon as possible. When he was six, his father took him to the neighborhood of La Boca to have his early music lessons with a teacher named Juan Carlos Comitini.

His “debut” was also precocious. It happened when he was nine, again encouraged by his father, who was cousin of Víctor Avendaño, an Olympic boxing champion. One evening, the three went to the Café Germinal, where the Elvino Vardaro orchestra was playing. When the set was over they helped him to jump onto the bandstand. When the kid saw a bandoneon, he went forward and, unembarrassed, took a seat. He used to recall that Troilo helped him to put his hands through the straps and that later José Pascual gave him the sheet music of his tango “Arrabal”. With a great enthusiasm he played all he had learnt until then. Besides the above, that group included Hugo Baralis, Jorge Argentino Fernández and Freddy Lipesker.

He continued at some festivals. Like the one at the Centro Asturiano on Solís Street, where the Juan Polito orchestra was appearing. When he was twelve he said he liked the Roberto Firpo quartet. A pianist who had played with Arolas, auditioned him and hired him as member of a music group of that kind which played that style. At age thirteen he appeared on LR2 Radio Argentina joining the Domingo Greco-Eugenio Nobile quartet which also included Enrique Amadeo Guerra (double bass).

He continued with Eugenio Nobile, in a style similar to Osvaldo Fresedo’s, along with other players. For a short time they backed the singer Oscar Alonso.

He joined the group Los Ases del Buenos Aires de Ayer, led by Gerónimo Bongioni, to replace Jorge Sara. Bongioni had visited the Juan Puey’s studio, on Álvarez Jonte and Nazca Avenue, looking for another bandoneonist and the young Natale was recommended to him. They had to ask permission to his father to comply with the tours already engaged because he was a minor. He was at ease in that group and stayed in it for four years.

Later he appeared on Radio Mitre and was hired as staff musician of the radio station. It was 1944 and he played along with the pianist, Juan José Paz. One evening he went to the Buen Orden café to listen to Enrique Campos who had just split with Ricardo Tanturi. There he came to know the pianist Luis Casanova (former member of Arolas), and also the double bass player Luis Bernstein (another ex Arolas), who offered him a stint at the Cabaret Royal, on Leandro Alem Avenue. The other bandoneon player was Pedro Toscano.

He stayed there until 1946. He switched to the Odeón, on 25 de Mayo Street, to play with the Alfredo Calabró-Arturo Gallucci octet for four months. The personnel also included: José Votti (violin) and Agustín Bardi, Jr. (piano). Thereafter he continued with Roberto Caló at the Cabaret Singapur, on Montevideo between Corrientes and Sarmiento. Later he joined the Howard-Landi orchestra, in it he had Roberto Di Filippo and Emilio Balcarce, among others, as band-mates.

Furthermore, he passed through the ranks of Juan Carlos Cobián, at the Empire on Esmeralda and Corrientes, where he met Juan Carlos Bera. The owner of the Odeón asked him to form a new group under his leadership. He summoned Francisco Grillo and the singer Juan Carlos Miranda. Curiously, the music ensemble included five bandoneons: Grillo, Vicente Todaro, Ángel Genta, Natale and Jorge Uría, plus violins, piano and double bass, and Juan Carlos Miranda was on vocals.

They also backed Héctor Mauré on LR3 Radio Belgrano. And then a period of calm came. He was only 21 and with a full experience. José Basso split with Troilo and immediately began to put together his new orchestra. Rodolfo Nerone was surprised when he heard his peer playing bandoneon and informed Basso about it and so he was soon summoned by the leader.

Their debut was on October 1, 1947, in the afternoon at the Bar Marzotto, on Corrientes near Cerrito. In the evening on Radio Belgrano and, late at night, at the Cabaret Ocean, Leandro Alem between Sarmiento and the now named Perón. The lineup was: Basso (piano and leadership), Julio Ahumada, Eduardo Rovira, Adolfo Francia and Natale (bandoneons); Mauricio Mise, Francisco Oréfice and Enrique Rodríguez (violins); Leopoldo Marafiotti (cello) Rafael del Bagno (double bass); the latter two, according to Nicolás Lefcovich’s information. The singers were: Francisco Fiorentino and Ricardo Ruiz. Prior to the recordings which began in 1949, Ortega del Cerro was on vocals.

These guys stayed about six months, there were changes of personnel in the orchestra but Natale remained in it. In late 1964 he decided to quit his professional career. Until then he had played in almost all the recordings made by Basso. But his friendship with the leader made him play in the recordings after his retirement.

He was composer of the tango “María la del portón”, with words by Abel Aznar. Floreal Ruiz with Basso recorded it on December 3, 1958.

The following also belong to him: “Inútilmente” (with Reynaldo Yiso), sung by Jorge Durán but was not recorded. The instrumental “Corrientes y el cielo”, which was neither recorded despite it was in the repertoires of Basso and Carlos Figari. Other ones: “Medio nácar” and “Sin balurdos”, instrumentals co-written with Jorge Fumberg.

Luciano Leocata recorded his tangos “Tormento de amor”, “Quisiera que vuelva” and “Mi rosa amada” with Roberto Chaleán on vocals. These songs were also committed to record by the singer Héctor Carola, accompanied by a guitar group.

He as well composed “Mentiroso”, “En el bar azul”, “La paloma perdida” and “Necesito”, with words by María Elena Brandes and "Mordiéndome los labios", with lyrics and music of his own. The latter piece was recorded by Fanny Ruth with a quartet that included Juan Carlos Bera (bandoneon), Enrique Rodríguez (violin), Omar Murtagh (double bass) and Osvaldo Requena (piano).

With Jorfer he composed “Osvalyumba”, “Croto”, “Sabés qué bronca me da” and “Dejalos que digan [b]”. He also wrote bandoneon pieces: “El último bandoneón”, “Plegaria a Pichuco”, “Señor Astor”, “Tibieza [b]”, “Los silencios y las sombras” and “Pájaros en vuelo”.

He traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East. Now he plays at home for his own pleasure, writes poems and essays about Arolas and other figures of the Guardia Vieja like Luis Teisseire, Juan Maglio and others.

Compiled from the interview published in the Internet page Recordando tangos by Juan Manuel Peña (2005) and from the one made by Salvador Arancio for his magazine Cuadernos de difusión del tango Nº 37.