Ricardo García Blaya
| Néstor Pinsón

Cuarteto Típico Los Ases and Juan Carlos Cambón

his music group, today almost completely forgotten, was put together and led by the pianist Juan Carlos Cambón, born in the city of Junín (province of Buenos Aires), and who unexpectedly passed away at age forty-three.

The Cuarteto Típico Los Ases made its debut in 1940. The core of the group were Cambón (piano and leadership) and Jorge Sara (bandoneon). The latter musician was born in Buenos Aires, and appeared for several years on Radio Mitre, accompanying, among others, the singer Juan Giliberti. The group also included two violins that changed throughout the career of the quartet: Luis Piersantelli, Héctor Demattei and O. Raele. The latter two played in the recordings for the Victor label.

But the name that stood out was Cambón’s, who had a previous experience in popular music. In the 30’s he was member, always playing piano, of the then successful humorous–music group Los Bohemios created by Mario Pugliese, ‘Cariño’ (his nickname). An artist, who after several years in his career, became an astrologist, on television through which he spread his predictions. He was a nice guy, accepted by a certain kind of public that liked that sort of expressions.

In 1939 Cambón joined the group Los Ases del Buenos Aires de Ayer, which was fronted by the violinist Gerónimo Bongioni and, among its members, were Horacio Perri and Jorge Sara (bandoneons) and Juan Bibiloni (violin). They used to appear on Radio Belgrano. Cambón and Sara quit to put together the Cuarteto Típico Los Ases which had a two-year tenure.

When researching its repertoire, it turns out evident their preference for the Guardia Vieja songs, with the sole exception of the pieces co-written by the leader with Demattei. The style had a certain similarity with the Roberto Firpo quartets, but in some cases with a faster pace, like also with the ending variations played by Jorge Sara, who displayed his virtuosity with them.

The Japanese record collector Akihito Baba, like in other cases, had the brilliant idea of traveling to Buenos Aires and he carried a large number of 78 rpm records when he came back to his country. There he restored them and returned to distribute them at retail outlets. Thanks to his work we have previously unavailable and hard-to-get material at our disposal.

Baba’s CD includes 26 pieces: “Requiebros” (wrongly entitled as “La quebrada”), “La sirena”, “Martín (Don Martín)” and “Con toda el alma (Te lo juro)”, by Cambón and Demattei; “El pangaré”, “Tus ojos me embelesan”, “Entrada prohibida”, “Noches de serenata”, (by Demattei), “Noche calurosa” (by Roberto Firpo), “Flor de fango”, “Mi noche triste (lita)”, “Ivette”, “El águila (L’aquila)” (by R. Wagner), “El impertinente (Un buen gaucho)” (by Antonino Cipolla), “Tu mirada es un pensamiento” (by Gerardo Metallo), “El chiflado” (by Jorge Sara), “Invernal” (by P. Marti), “Siete palabras”, “Julián”, “Tinta china” (by Antonio Polito), “El talar”, “La llamada”, “El otario”, “Recordándote [b]”, “Armenonville”, “De vuelta al bulín”. Furthermore, Cambón composed the tango “Junto al piano”, in collaboration with Juan Bibiloni, which is not included in this album. The last recordings of the quartet were cut in December 1942.

It is important to highlight in order to avoid confusion that, in the 50’s, Bongioni led a quartet named Gerónimo Bongioni and his authentic Cuarteto Los Ases, in which the bandoneonist Alfredo Cordisco played. This group cut records for the Columbia label, between 1953 and 1955.

Cambón had a short role in the movie premiered in 1943 ‘El fabricante de estrellas’, directed by Manuel Romero and in which Rafael Carret, aka ‘El Pato’, also appears. In 1944 he had the opportunity of leading a small music group to back Mercedes Simone on a tour of Mexico. She was already consecrated as female singer like Libertad Lamarque and Azucena Maizani,. They also appeared on radios, theaters and in some recordings like, for example: “Cada día te extraño más”, “Desdén”. “Yo vendo unos ojos negros” (Chilean tonada by unknown author), “Verdemar”, “Motivo sentimental”, “Lero Lero del Brasil” (by María Grever), “Otra noche”, “Galopa galopa” (corrido by Nicanor Molinari).

From that year on, Cambón had different activities, always in the music business, until a popular radio man appeared: Tito Martínez del Box who created ‘La Cruzada del Buen Humor’, later known as ‘La Caravana del Buen Humor’ which soon appeared in the movies with almost all the characters of the cast on the radio. The motion picture was named ‘Cuidado con las imitaciones’, with script by Máximo Aguirre. It was premiered on May 19, 1948.

Nearly with the same team, he tried to reprise the acceptable success the film achieved and, with other script writers, ‘Imitaciones peligrosas’ was premiered on October 7, 1949. It was not the same. Martínez del Box, always at the lead, took a right decision, from the whole cast he picked five of them, Cambón, Zelmar Gueñol, Rafael Carret, Guillermo Rico and Jorge Luz and created ‘Los Cinco Grandes del Buen Humor’ which was a boom on the radio and they became the protagonists of the movie ‘Cinco grandes y una chica’. It was premiered on February 28, 1950 and, again, Máximo Aguirre wrote the simple but efficient plot.

On September 15, that same year, ‘Cinco locos en la pista’ was released. It was about car races, taking advantage of the first steps by Juan Manuel Fangio. Later releases: ‘Fantasmas asustados’, on May 16, 1951; ‘Locuras, tiros y mambo’, on October 18, 1951; ‘La patrulla chiflada’, premiered in 1952; ‘Vigilantes y ladrones’, on October 23, 1952; ‘Trompada 45’, 1953; ‘Desalmados en pena’, January 27, 1954 and, finally, the Juan Carlos Cambón’s last appearance on screen: ‘Veraneo en Mar del Plata’, on September 2, that same year.

El Flaco (Skinny) was called by his partners in the simple plots of the movies and he was asked to exaggerate his skinny body a little bit more, because his appearances with some witty saying, always caused laugh in the audience, especially among children. He was seen very neatly dressed, as accompanying musician, when the leading man, always Guillermo Rico, sang a tango to finally conquer the girl of the occasion.

After his death, the four remaining guys continued as ‘Los Grandes del Buen Humor’ but that was another story.

Musician, composer and comic actor, Juan Carlos Cambón was an unforgettable character that we also came to know thanks to tango.