Jorge Palacio (Faruk)

e was known as Florindo in his artistic career, but for his friends his name was Pedro, which was his first Christian name.

Even though his orchestra was, since around 1930, a line-up extremely oiled and with a rich repertoire, it was not what is known as a boom. Of course, it was the time when the challengers for the top ranks were Francisco Canaro, Francisco Lomuto, Roberto Firpo, Julio De Caro, Edgardo Donato, Roberto Zerrillo and Juan D'Arienzo, that had sprung with his nervous rhythm.

Sassone was at the level of the orchestras that gigged in the neighborhoods such as those led by Rafael Santacápita, Mario Azzerboni, Miguel Padula, Alberto Las Heras, José Otero, Oscar Lavalle and many others more with a short unlucky career. But he insisted without faltering until the time that, due to his own effort, he appeared leading his orchestra at one of the studios of Radio Belgrano located on Belgrano avenue and Entre Ríos.

Little by little he was shaping a style of his own, a rare blend of Osvaldo Fresedo’s and Carlos Di Sarli’s, but he achieved something which had nothing of the two of them but it was all Florindo Sassone’s. It is notable how an artist can be influenced by other artists and in spite of that being able to reach a personality absolutely his own.

We have to listen attentively to an instrumental recording to find where Fresedo and Di Sarli are hidden. Of course, they are there, but merged into Sassone’s style. Furthermore, he possessed an uncommon good taste.

He cultivated an authentic kind of tango with a strong preference for the purity and clarity of the melodic line, framed within the attractive elements of a lucid play of sound resources, always pleasant and with a carefully polished design. Frequently we can discover some additions of embellished overtones, modernly interspersed, somewhat alien to the orthodox traditional structure of tango orchestras.

He was not fond of showcasing the soloists, but he stressed the varied gamut of effects and nuances by the different instrumental sections of the group.

He was born in the neighborhood of Liniers, on the west side of the city of Buenos Aires. There he had his early music training and graduated as violin teacher.

In 1930, he made his professional debut with an outfit led by Antonio Polito that played on Radio Belgrano. The following year he made a great move by joining the Roberto Firpo Orchestra as violin player. But with Osvaldo Fresedo is when Sassone would find his way of feeling tango. That would mark him forever.

In 1935, after he split with El Pibe de la Paternal, Florindo put together his first orchestra, debuted on January 1, 1936 on Radio Belgrano and played at the café Nacional and the Marabú cabaret, with Alberto Amor on vocals. Time later he switched to Radio El Mundo where at noon he had a show with a large orchestra that included percussion, harp and other exotic instruments.

In 1940, he withdrew from his activity on radio and music to devote himself to personal businesses until 1946 when he returned and put together a unpretentious line-up, with juvenile musicians, to perform at cafés and neighboring venues.

In 1947, he reassembled his orchestra, and returned to radio activity to great acclaim and started to compete with the big names. He came back to the most important Buenos Aires sceneries and ballrooms.

But in fact, beyond his recognized capabilities, the role of the vocalist Jorge Casal was essential for this phenomenon. This young singer appeared in the show business milieu introduced by Sassone. He was a boom, surprising people in and out of his environment due to the brilliance of his voice and his well-controlled dynamics. Furthermore, he was impressively good-looking.

Just like other leaders, he had to add another singer to his orchestra, and once again, he was not mistaken, he hired Roberto Chanel.

The years went by, television was already consolidated and Florindo was one of the first conductors that appeared before the TV cameras. In 1960, he even had a program, in which he was the main star.

In 1962, the orchestra was lined-up with an exceptional team: Osvaldo Requena on piano; in the bandoneon section were playing Pastor Cores, Carlos Pazo, Jesús Méndez and Daniel Lomuto; on violins, Roberto Guisado, Claudio González, Carlos Arnaiz, Domingo Mancuso, Juan Scafino and José Amatriali; and Enrique Marcheto was on double bass.

In 1966, he traveled to Japan where he appeared at the most important cities on a tour that lasted several months. On that occasion he included Mario Bustos as vocalist. Six years later he returned to that country, but this time with another vocalist: Luciano Bianco.

He traveled to Colombia and Venezuela in 1975 and, in Caracas, he performed along with an Argentine artistic delegation. On that occasion his vocalists were: Oscar Macri and Rodolfo Lemos. Later came a tour of Porto Alegre (Brazil) and Asunción, capital of Paraguay.

Other vocalists in his orchestra, besides the above mentioned —Amor, Casal, Chanel, Bustos, Luciano Bianco, Macri and Lemos— were the singers Carlos Malbrán, Raúl Lavalle, Rodolfo Galé, Andrés Peyró, Ángel Díaz, Fontán Luna, Osvaldo Di Santi, Zulema Robles and Gloria Díaz.

Florindo Sassone has not left an outstanding oeuvre as composer, but we can highlight among his most successful numbers: the milonga “Baldosa floja” with the collaboration of Julio Bocazzi and the tango “El último escalón”, with Javier Mazzea, both with lyrics by Dante Gilardoni. Also are his: the instrumental tangos: “El relámpago”, “Cancha” and with Mazzea's lyrics, “Rivera Sud”, “Bolívar y Chile”, “Tango caprichoso”, “Esquina gardeliana”, among others.