Abel Palermo

e was born in Spain and was the son of Gregorio Sánchez and Aurora Fabieri. In 1924 they moved to Argentina and settled in San Nicolás, province of Buenos Aires and, around 1930, they moved definitively to the Federal Capital.

Juancito had already had his first bandoneon lessons in San Nicolás and, when he was based in Buenos Aires, he began to fully study that musical instrument. At age 13 he formed a trio with José Basso and Alejandro González. Later he was summoned by the violinist Alberto Pugliese, Osvaldo’s brother, to join his orchestral aggregation. In 1937, he continued with Alberto Cima until the following year when Francisco Lauro, leader of the orchestra known as Los Mendocinos, called him to join it as lead bandoneon. The pianist was Alfredo De Angelis and the singer was Mario Landi. It is interesting to highlight that Astor Piazzolla, before joining the Aníbal Troilo Orchestra, had a brief tenure in that line-up.

In 1939, Sánchez Gorio split with Lauro and, together with the pianist Bernardo Bas and the vocalist Mario Landi formed a group that only lasted for a year.

He devised his sobriquet by taking out his second name Gregorio and adding, as second family name, the last five letters of the name taken out.

In 1940, he decided to lead his own orchestra and made his debut on LR4 Radio Splendid with the vocalist Luis Botini. The latter had just split with José Tinelli and changed his name. The name he adopted, Luis Mendoza, would make him famous in the 40s.

In July he switched to Radio Prieto and added his well-known acquaintance Mario Landi as second vocalist.

By 1943, the orchestra was well-known in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country. Its style, quite rhythmical and extremely suitable for dancing, becomes fashionable. They were hired by RCA-Victor. On August 18, 1944 he recorded his first disc that included on one side a tango that he composed with lyrics by Horacio Sanguinetti, “Oriente” and, on the other side, Alfredo Pelaia’s waltz “Claveles mendocinos”, both with Mendoza on vocals. I became an important cashbox hit.

They recorded again on January 4, 1945, an instrumental by Francisco CanaroMilonga con variación” and, with Mendoza, “No me importa su amor” by José Dames and Enrique Cadícamo. At this stage with the Victor company he recorded six numbers, was successful on Corrientes Street, appeared at the tango tearoom Marzotto daily during 1946 and played at the Club Defensores in Santos Lugares in the 1947 carnival balls.

In 1948, he hired the vocalist Jorge Linares who had split with the Pedro Laurenz Orchestra and, during that year, he made a successful tour throughout the country. It continued later in Uruguay.

In the late 1949, the singer Osvaldo Bazán joined them, after a tenure in the orchestra led by Emilio Balcarce. The former, together with Mendoza, would become one of the most popular teams of that time.

In 1951, he signed with the new label Orfeo, which would later be swallowed by CBS-Columbia. In September they recorded the instrumental “Rodríguez Peña” and with the Mendoza-Bazán duo they cut his waltz with lyrics by Reinaldo Yiso, “Comodoro Rivadavia”. But his record hit would take place in 1952 with the tango “Gitana rusa” featuring Luis Mendoza on vocals. This piece had been released by Osvaldo Fresedo with Oscar Serpa on vocals ten years before and by Ricardo Malerba with the vocalist Orlando Medina. He composed the music of that number and the poet Horacio Sanguinetti wrote its lyrics. It was inspired in the melody of a Jewish musician of Ukrania, as Julio Nudler reveals it in his work The Jewish Gypsy. This curiosity, highlights Sánchez Gorio’s capability to develop a little country music into a tango of extraordinary popular acclaim.

During the following years the continued appearing on radio stations and in dancing tearooms, and his records were successfully sold. In 1957, he made an important tour of Brazil. On their comeback his vocalists Luis Mendoza (18 years with Gorio) and Osvaldo Bazán split with the orchestra and were replaced by Raúl Ledesma and Julio Fontana. Soon later Ledesma switched to Miguel Caló and was replaced by Roberto Mancini.

At the carnival balls in 1959, he appeared at the Club Victoria of the province of Buenos Aires. Then his vocalists were Osvaldo Bazán (back in the orchestra), Alberto Aguirre (Cholo) and Julio Fontana. During all that year he was hired by LR1 Radio El Mundo and the cabaret El Avión de La Boca.

As from 1960, like all the tango milieu, he felt the change that the impresarios of record companies, radio stations and television produced. They strongly supported the music of foreign origin called «nueva ola». His last appearances were on television at the Ronda de ases show emceed by Héctor Larrea.

This notable musician died at age 58. Not only should we remember him because he was a good bandoneon player but also for his orchestra which for 20 years won the heart of the people of our country with its rhythmic style and its sentimental repertory. He was as well a great for the radio and the record industry.

Lastly, I want to highlight his contribution as composer and also to mention the talented poets who added poetry to his oeuvre: Eugenio Majul, Horacio Sanguinetti, Reinaldo Yiso, among others.