Orquesta Típica Pedro Maffia
n November 1926 Pedro Maffia split with the Julio De Caro sextet and put together his first orchestra, in fact, a sextet: Alfredo De Franco and the leader (bandoneons), Elvino Vardaro and Cayetano Puglisi —later Emilio Puglisi and Carlos Campanone— (violins), Osvaldo Pugliese (piano) and Francisco De Lorenzo (double bass). The debut took place on December 1 at the Café Colón on 999 Avenida de Mayo on the corner of Bernardo de Irigoyen Street, then called Buen Orden.
In 1927 he added more players for the carnival balls at the Centro Eslavo (Slavonic Center). They included Sebastián Piana (piano), Alberto Cima and Francisco Requena (bandoneons), Eugenio Nobile and Remo Bernasconi (violins). They appeared on the stage of the Cine Electric located on 836 Lavalle Street. José Pascual replaced Pugliese.
In 1928, during the carnival season, he appeared at the Teatro San Martín on 233 Esmeralda Street and at the Cine Metropol (later Atlas) on 869 Lavalle Street.
In 1929 there were some changes made. José Pascual was at the piano, Eugenio Nobile, Carlos Campanone and Emilio Puglisi remained on violins; Héctor Presas was added as second bandoneon; Francisco De Lorenzo (double bass) and a new instrument: Nerón Ferrazzano on cello. The latter was included to reinforce the strings because they had begun to record for the Brunswick label. They appeared at the Cine Hindú on 842 Lavalle Street and, for the carnival balls, at the Teatro Nuevo on 1530 Corrientes Street.
In 1930 he reorganized the orchestra. Maffia, Gabriel Clausi, Alejandro Junnissi (bandoneons); Antonio Rodio, Emilio Puglisi and José Abbati (violins); Lalo Scalise (piano) and José Pascual replaced him when it was necessary; Nerón Ferrazzano (cello) and Francisco De Lorenzo (double bass). For a short tenure Francisco Fiorentino joined the bandoneon section, on Maffia’s request, and he was the estribillista (refrain singer) for some recordings. They appeared at the Río de la Plata arbour, on Avenida San Martín and Parral (today Honorio Pueyrredón), and also, at the Teatro Argentino, (according to what, personally, told me Gabriel Clausi).
In 1931 Alfredo De Franco (bandoneon) came back, the pianists were Sebastián Piana and Vicente Demarco, and the prestigious maestro Juan Francisco Giacobe was the arranger. They appeared at the Teatro San Martín and made a tour of the province of Córdoba. In Buenos Aires they appeared at the Cabaret Pelikán on Montevideo Street. Here, Maffia exhumed the old tango piece by Peregrino Paulos, “El 6º del R.2” which, when a lyric was added, became “Inspiración”.
In February 1933 the Crítica journal organized a contest for orchestras at the Luna Park. The orchestra appeared with: Clausi, Roberto Dolard, Juan Liguori and the leader (bandoneons); Antonio Rodio, Pablo De Martino and Juan José Gallastegui (violins); Lalo Scalise (piano); Francisco De Lorenzo (double bass).
In May 1934 there was a new lineup: Pedro Maffia, Carlos Demaría, Héctor Presas and Ángel Maffia (bandoneons); Nerón Ferrazzano (cello); Alberto Besprovan (Tito) and Unamuno (violins); Juan Trombino (piano); Francisco De Lorenzo (double bass).
In 1935 these players were included: Salvador Caló (piano), Abraham Levinson and Leo Lipesker (violins), Santos Lipesker (clarinet) and Miguel Jurado (bandoneon). It was a time on the radio, recordings and a tour of Chile. The following year Jaime Gosis substituted for Salvador Caló on the piano.
In 1939 he formed a sextet. Maffia and Carlos Lazzari (bandoneons); Oscar Herrero (violin); Santos Lipesker (clarinet); Carlos Parodi (piano) and Alfredo Corleto (double bass).
In 1941 he appeared on LR3 Radio Belgrano with a quartet which included Abel Fleury (guitar), Sebastián Piana (piano) and Alfredo Corleto (double bass).
In 1945, a new orchestra: Maffia, Alfredo Cordisco, Pascual Mamone and Torterolo (bandoneons); Elvino Vardaro, Ríspoli, Bautista Huerta and Pedro Sapochnik (violins); Lalo Scalise (piano) and Enrique Marcheto (double bass).
In 1948 Maffia decided to quit his show business career and devote himself to trade. He opened a jewelry and clock and watch shop (Sarmiento 1186). It was a failure –like years before had happened with his Cabaret Montecarlo- and he disappeared from the scene until 1952.
In 1959, due to the singer Alberto Gómez’s initiative, he put together a new orchestra. The members were: Maffia, Gabriel Clausi, Cayetano Cámara and Ernesto Baffa (bandoneons); Elvino Vardaro, José Nieso, Aquiles Aguilar and Domingo Mancuso (violins); Enrique Munné (piano) and Enrique Marchetto (double bass); the vocalist was Alberto Gómez. They committed to disc: “La mariposa”, “Adiós pampa mía”, “Milonga que peina canas”, “Orgullo tanguero”, “Duelo criollo” and “Nocturno a Rosario”.
In 1963, he released a new record with only six numbers and Eduardo Ponce on vocals. And the same year, for a short season on Radio Splendid, he put together his last orchestra. The members were: Maffia, Pedro Vidaurre, Roberto Pérez Prechi, Anibal Appendino and Armando Rodríguez, aka El Japonés, (bandoneons); Osvaldo Monterde, Carmelo Cavallaro, Claudio González, Nito Farace and Emilio González (violins); Norberto Ramos (piano) and Enrique Marchetto (double bass).
His vocalists that succeeded in recording were: Luis Díaz, Carlos Viván, Roberto Maida, Francisco Fiorentino, Pedro Lauga, Rafael Cisca, Mariano Balcarce, Félix Gutiérrez, Martín Podestá, Alberto Gómez, Eduardo Ponce and Carlos Solari.
The following also passed through the ranks of his aggregations: Ernesto Famá, Alberto Echagüe, Aldo Campoamor, Américo Podestá, Jorge del Prado, Héctor Pacheco, Jorge Peyró, Maruja Piana, Elena Piana, Roberto Arrieta, Héctor Alvarado, Miguel Montero and Roberto Cortez, but were unable to cut recordings.
And in 1965 his last recording session took place; a duet with José Canet (guitar) along with Julián Centeya –who recited the glosas (words designed to be declaimed over tango music) and poems- and the singer Carlos Solari. This is his last recorded output which was cut in the Editorial Musical Literaria label and included 14 tracks in which Maffia plays six bandoneon solos and premiered his last composition, “Heliotropo”.
His early recordings belong to the acoustic period, four numbers teaming up with Pedro Laurenz and the other two, with Ciriaco Ortiz, which the Odeon label finally did not release. For a short time a nephew of his, Mario Maffia, also bandoneon player, joined one of his orchestras.
Taking into account his bandoneon solos and what he recorded with his aggregations, Pedro Maffia cut 194 recordings; the first one, “Julián”, in July 1925 for Victor; the last one, “Se muere de amor”, in 1965 for the Editorial Musical Literaria.