Néstor Pinsón

n the early 50s before the screening of a movie there was a live show at every cinema theater of the Capital and the Grand Buenos Aires. It was an unavoidable performance established to provide work for the artists. It was not welcomed by the public who almost generally showed their lack of respect for the performers. I recall Fiorentino at the Edison cinema theater in the neighborhood of Liniers and, on other occasion, Héctor Palacios at the General Belgrano of Ramos Mejía, being humiliated by the audience and despite that they went on singing until the final note.

It might have been in the summer of 1957 or 1958, I don't remember quite well. I had been to the Metro cinema, it was the first section of the afternoon, and at the time of the live show a tall man wearing a creased jacket appeared. Before coming to the center of the stage he had put aside a portfolio. He was the singer Ricardo Ruiz. The man had made a halt in his daily labor to make a few bucks. I neither remembered what he sang nor who accompanied him but this image remained in my mind forever.

Somewhere I read that his parents were named Ricardo Ruiz García and Bernarda Pizarro and that he spent his childhood in the neighborhood of Palermo Viejo and that he died in Belgrano.

Like many others, he started his professional career on the radio, at the famous program Chispazos de Tradición in which he was actor and singer. Later he appeared with the Arsenio Mármol's company, at the program Estampas porteñas.

In 1935 he was hired by Francisco Canaro to sing in his musical Rascacielos.

His tenor range, his intonation and his delicate way of saying were virtues that maestro Osvaldo Fresedo took into consideration to summon him, even though it was only to replace his vocalist Roberto Ray. That same year he also made his first recording: “Canto Siboney”.

Finally in 1939, he joined definitively the orchestra. He and Ray became the two vocalists most representative of Fresedo's. No other one was capable of displacing them.

This tenure nearly lasted three years and recorded 28 numbers more, among which are standouts the beautiful tango “Vida querida”, by Lalo Scalise with lyrics by Juan Carlos Thorry, and “Rosarina linda”, by Osvaldo and Emilio Fresedo, which he would later reprise especially invited by the leader in 1961. It was his period of splendor and fame that would never come again in the future.

In 1942, he split with the orchestra together with most of the members and then he joined the Orquesta Típica Argentina which had been put together to appear in the movie La cabalgata del tango whose scriptwriter and director was Juan Francisco López, aka Lopecito.

In the mid-40s he joined Gabriel Clausi's orchestra. With it he traveled to Santiago de Chile alongside the vocalist Héctor Insúa. He stayed there for a time gigging and returned to the studios by recording the number: “Música en tu corazón”. The relationship with the leader did not ended in good terms so he had to come back.

On his comeback to Buenos Aires he joined the first José Basso's orchestra, recently formed in 1947. Great musicians such as Julio Ahumada, Eduardo Rovira, Mauricio Misé, and Rafael del Bagno, among others, were his partners. The other vocalist was Ortega del Cerro, who later was followed by Francisco Fiorentino.

He returned to Chile in the summmer of '48 to perform a season at the Casino of Viña del Mar with the Clausi Orchestra. He traveled with the violinist Antonio Rodio. On that occasion he recorded six numbers: “Despacio buey”, “Ay Aurora”, “Como tú”, “Y la perdí”, “Barrio reo” and “Castillo azul”.

When he again joined the José Basso Orchestra he made two recordings for the Victor company which were never released commercially: “Sentimiento gaucho” and “Dos que se aman”, the latter in duo with Fiorentino. Some months later Basso joined the Odeon label and Ruiz recorded two discs on whose B-sides he sang duetting with his fellow vocalist; it was back in 1949.

He had a brief tenure with the Ángel D'Agostino Orchestra in 1953 and recorded the tango "Cascabelito".

The halcyon days of tango were coming to an end. Recording was becoming more difficult for the artists. Our city music was being gradually displaced by other foreign rhythms and our singer, like many others, was losing his place in the recording market and in show-business in general.

However, with already some decline in his voice, he joined the first orchestra led by Atilio Stampone. With the latter he recorded again between 1959 and 1962. The following year he reunited with Clausi he made three numbers for the Chopin label, owned by the bandoneonist. Later he made a series of recordings with different line-ups: Oscar de la Fuente, Jorge Dragone, Roberto Prando, Roberto Pansera. He as well recorded a number with Argentino Galván's orchestra, his old hit "Vida querida". He was not then gigging but, like the old soccer players who do not accept retirement, he continued with this series of recordings which did not receive much acclaim in order to still keep on enjoying the pleasure of warming-up.

I like remembering him at his time of glory alongside Osvaldo Fresedo. That tenure would have sufficed for being appreciated and recognized by those who, like us, love the best tango.