Ricardo García Blaya

genuine representative of the generation of great musicians of the 70s, he is recognized by his technical prowess in bandoneon playing. His fingering, speed and synchronization are virtues accepted even by his critics who say that so much virtuosity leads to an absence of feelings, a sort of emotional coldness. Furthermore he is a notable orchestrator.

He was born in the town of Álvarez, near Rosario city, province of Santa Fe, 300 km far from Buenos Aires. He started in music at a very early age, he was only eleven years old. First he studied piano and composition but his true vocation woke up when his father bought a bandoneon as a gift for him.

His father worked as foreman at the Swift cold storage plant, while the young musician swapped between music studies with a lent piano and his other passion, soccer.

In the role of bandoneon player he had his own way, he was a true self-taught musician that adapted to the fueye what he learnt for piano.

«Later I began to study music seriously with maestro Schneider, and harmony and counterpoint with Luis Mirisi. Of course, I used to listen to the great masters. By that time I was crazy for Laurenz, Troilo, but as well for Astor Piazzolla with that quintet in which Atilio Stampone and Szymsia Bajour played. Listening is also a part of learning.»

He made his professional debut when he was only 16 years-old in the studios of the Radio LT3 of Rosario with the orchestra led by his teacher Schneider and in the evenings, with a trio, at the boite La Marine which was downtown. Later he joined a quartet, Los Cuatro Señores del Tango —it previously had other bandoneonists, first of them: Julio Barbosa—, which was showcased at the recitals that a group of bohemians of Rosario organized at the Tango Club Rosario. The other members were Clemente Vega on violin, Francisco Tejedor on piano and Nito Deniel on double bass. «We performed at recitals in nearly all the faculties of the University of Rosario. They were in vogue.»

When he was not yet 19, something that would change his life took place. The José Basso Orchestra visited Rosario, on tour of the interior of the country, but unexpectedly one of its bandoneon players was absent. The announcer that introduced the orchestra was a friend of Néstor’s and introduced him to the leader. His lead bandoneon, Juan Carlos Bera and El Tata Floreal Ruiz auditioned him, he was accepted and they hired him for the tour.

Thereafter he went to Buenos Aires with all his family. His father’s support was essential in his career, so much so that he asked his transfer to a branch that the cold storage plant had in the neighborhood of El Once. They settled in Victoria, in the province of Buenos Aires, near Tigre.

With Basso he played at the legendary cabaret Marabú, where in 1937 Aníbal Troilo made his debut, and at the Maipo theater. The bandoneonist himself recalls: «And soon later, after two or three years, according to the advise of Basso himself I began to play on my own, with no other bandoneon player by my side. So I played with Osvaldo Manzi, with Lito Escarso, I devised an accompaniment for the ballet led by Juan Carlos Copes. With the latter I went on a tour of Central America and, on our comeback, we started a tenure on the stage of Caño 14, recently opened.»

In 1970, he joined the Enrique Mario Francini Sextet, to later found Vanguatrío, together with Héctor Console and Horacio Valente.

At Caño 14 he was featured for many years as member of several aggregations, among them, the orchestras led by Héctor Stamponi, Pepe Basso, Atilio Stampone and the outfit that backed Polaco Goyeneche. He became very close friends with the latter.

In 1973, he joined the new orchestra formed by Francini and Pontier and they embarked to Japan. Six years later he put together a quartet to play in Sweden. It included the guitarist Rubén Ruiz (Chocho), the pianist Oscar Palermo and the bassist Fernando Romano. They opened that market for tango.

In the 80s he was staff musician at the Café Homero, alongside starslike the pianists Osvaldo Tarantino and Orlando Trípodi, the bassist Angel Ridolfi and the singers Goyeneche and Rubén Juárez.

«Tarantino was a monster. When I phoned to ask him if he wanted to play with Ridolfi and with me, he immediately said yes but he added: I'd like it very much, but please with nothing written. Let that every evening be a surprise to meet on the stage. We're going to ad lib, let's go to improvise.»

Marconi's opinions about the greats that preceded him are interesting:
«I think that Pedro Laurenz meant the start of bandoneon as solo instrument. He wrote a different story. He had no need of an accompaniment. Laurenz alone, playing bandoneon, was something delicious.»

«Hearing and seeing Troilo when he was playing on the little stage of Caño 14 was like seeing the whole night of Buenos Aires. El Gordo always produced on me that impression. I heard many of his former musicians say that Pichuco had got tango under his skin. And surely it was so. But also he'd got Buenos Aires. El Gordo was Buenos Aires.»

«Astor Piazzolla amazed me with his musical greatness... His swing. He was a musician of an incredible level.»

«And Leopoldo Federico showed to all the bandoneonists the great technical possibilities that this instrument has. He's a monster!»

In 1988 he formed an octet for a show which was meant to appear in Japan. Among others, Orlando Trípodi, Reynaldo Nichele, Daniel Binelli, Mauricio Marcelli and the singers Nelly Vázquez and Roberto Goyeneche were part of it. Due to the success achieved they returned in 1991 with some changes in the personnel but with the same result.

As composer two suites for string orchestra stand out. They were premiered by the Orquesta de Cámara de Rosario conducted by Luis Milici.

Besides his activity as soloist he is member of the Nuevo Quinteto Real led by maestro Horacio Salgán and he is as well one of the conductors of the Orquesta de Música Argentina «Juan de Dios Filiberto».