Néstor Pinsón
| Miguel Ángel Lafuente

Ernesto Ponzio’s music groups

n 1899, recommended by Genaro Vázquez, he played in several groups. He put together a trio along with the above Vázquez (also violinist) and Luis Teisseire (flute).

In 1900 he played in a trio along with Vicente Pecci (flute) and Eusebio Aspiazú (guitar).

In 1901 he joined a quartet that also included Morena (violin), Alfredo Bevilacqua (piano) and Lozzi (unidentified instrument).

In 1902, a trio with Luis Teisseire (violin) and Vizcacha Herrera (guitar).

In 1903 he played in the Orquesta del Hotel Palacio Verde, of the city of Coronel Suárez, province of Buenos Aires. He put together a trio with Félix Riglos (flute) and Eusebio Aspiazú (guitar).

A quartet together with his uncle Vicente Ponzio (violin) —who when Ernesto’s father died, became his tutor—, Juan Carlos Bazán (clarinet) and El Tano Tortorelli (harp).

Quartet with Vicente Pecci (flute), Juan Carlos Bazán (clarinet) and Tortorelli (harp). They appeared at Hansen’s and at El Tambito, at the La Casa de Laura, at Mamita’s (Concepción Amaya), at the María La Vasca’s. They also played in the Bajo Belgrano area, at La Pajarera, La Fazenda, La Cancha de Rosendo and, among others, at La Milonga de Pantaleón, where in a quarrel he was wounded and had to quit the group. Until that time they had worked with no one mentioned as leader.

In 1904, a quartet with Juan Carlos Bazán (clarinet), Félix Riglos (flute) and Eusebio Aspiazú (guitar). He came back to Hansen’s and to El Tambito.

Between 1904 and 1907 he put together a trio with José Fuster (flute) and El Pardo Canaveri (guitar) and a quartet with Juan Carlos Bazán (clarinet), El Yepi José María Bianchi (bandoneon) and El Negro Lorenzo (guitar).

In 1908 he formed a duo with the guitarist Eusebio Aspiazú. They appeared at the Almacén Suizo (Swiss grocery store), on Corrientes and Centroamérica (today Pueyrredón Avenue), and also at the Café Iglesias.

In 1911 he played in a trio with Eduardo Arolas (bandoneon) and Leopoldo Thompson (at that time, guitarist, later a sought-after bass player).

In 1912, due to frequent rumpuses at the venues where he appeared, all of them of awful reputation, he was arrested several times until he murdered someone and was condemned to twenty years of imprisonment. Because of the devoted interest and management of peers and friends (in which the journalist Carlos de la Púa stood out), after five years in prison he was released. Firstly, he served his sentence in the Ushuaia prison and, later, in the one located in the city of Rosario.

On January 26, 1932 he made his debut with the La Guardia Vieja orchestra at the Teatro Nacional owned by the impresario Pascual Carcavallo, on 960 Corrientes Street. The orchestra had been organized by Juan Carlos Bazán and was conducted by Ernesto Ponzio, and it included Alcides Palavecino and Ernesto Juan Muñecas (violins), Vicente Pecci (flute), José Luis Padula and Enrique Saborido (pianos), Eusebio Aspiazú and Domingo Pizarro (guitars) and Eduardo Arbol Erezcano (double bass). Its task was the recreation of the beginnings of tango and its evolution until the arrival of the bandoneon. Next, the Roberto Firpo followed with «modern tango». Time later, they traveled to Uruguay to appear at the Teatro Artigas in Montevideo.

In 1933 the era of sound movies arrived with the motion picture ¡Tango!, shot between January and February and premiered on April 27 at the Cine Real on 425 Esmeralda Street. Co-led by Ponzio and Bazán, the Orquesta Típica de la Guardia Vieja was lined up by El Pardo N. Alcorta (violin), Vicente Pecci (flute), José María Bianchi, El Yepi (bandoneon) and Eusebio Aspiazú (guitar).

Another lineup of that orchestra was with Alcides Palavecino (violin), José María Bianchi (bandoneon), Félix Riglos (flute), Domingo Fortunato (piano) and Apolinario Aldana (guitar). In the movie they play: “Don Juan (El taita del barrio)”, “Yo soy así pa'l amor” with Tita Merello on vocals, “El entrerriano”, which is danced by El Cachafaz with his female partner Isabel San Miguel and, finally, “La chiflada”, also sung by Tita Merello.

On March 24, they returned to the Teatro Nacional for the play De Gabino a Gardel (From Gabino To Gardel), which was the last appearance of Carlos Gardel in Argentina. Finally, on June 23, its public farewell took place in Rosario as Orquesta Típica Ernesto Ponzio, with Guillermo Lértora and Saverio Puleio (violins), Nicolás Tauro (bandoneon), Héctor Lagna Fietta (piano), José Rainelli and F. Dalmolín (unidentified instruments). Ponzio died about a year later, on October 21, 1934.

Sources: Ernesto Ponzio’, book by Miguel Ángel Lafuente; two notes, one signed by Luis Adolfo Sierra and, another, by Roberto Selles. Ed. Las orillas 1985.