The Platinum Collection – Oscar Alemán

Oscar Marcelo Alemán (February 20, 1909 – October 14, 1980) was an Argentine jazz guitarist, singer, and dancer. At the age of six, Alemán joined the family ensemble, the Moreira Sextet, and played the cavaquinho, a chordophone related to the ukulele, before taking up the guitar. The group travelled to Buenos Aires to perform at the Parque Japonés, Nuevo Theater, and at the Luna Park. Later they toured in Brazil.

Alemán was orphaned at age of ten when his mother died and his father committed suicide. He sustained himself by working sporadically as a dancer and musician on the streets of Santos, Brazil. When he saved enough money, he bought a guitar and started to play professionally at party venues in a duo called Los Lobos with his friend, Brazilian guitarist Gastón Bueno Lobo. The duo moved to Buenos Aires in 1925 to work under contract for the comedian Pablo Palitos. In Buenos Aires, they formed a trio with violinist Elvino Vardaro. They added tango to their repertoire and recorded with Agustín Magaldi. They later played with Carlos Gardel and Enrique Santos Discépolo.

In 1929 Los Lobos and dancer Harry Fleming travelled to Europe. After the tour, Alemán stayed in Madrid to play as a soloist. In the 1930s he discovered American jazz through the music of Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti. He then moved to Paris, where he was hired by Josephine Baker to lead her band, the Baker Boys, at the Cafe de Paris, providing him an opportunity to play regularly with American musicians who would come to see Baker and perform with her band. In Paris he met Django Reinhardt, for whom he would sometimes substitute.

Throughout the 1930s Alemán toured Europe, playing with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington before forming a nine-piece band which would performed nightly at the Le Chantilly in Paris.

During the Nazi invasion of France during World War II Alemán returned to Argentina. He had a hit with “Rosa Madreselva” (“Honeysuckle Rose”) and continued to record and perform with a swing quintet and a nine-piece orchestra. He became romantically involved with actress Carmen Vallejo with whom he had a daughter, Selva Alemán. In 1972, he recorded an album and reissued some of his music. He toured and appeared on television. He performed and taught in his native country until his death at age of the 71 in 1980.

Alemán usually played with thumb pick and fingers and played the D-hole Selmer Maccaferri, a model used by Django Reinhardt. He also a National Style 1 tri-cone resonator guitar, nylon string guitars, and archtop guitars.

1 – Tengo ritmo 00:00
2 – Tico tico no fuba 03:13
3 – Noche y día 06:06
4 – Dulce Georgia Brown 09:35
5 – Improvisaciones sobre Boogie-Woogie 11:40
6 – Ritmo loc 14:14
7 – Nada más que un poquito de swing 16:40
8 – Tonterías 19:38
9 – Moulin rouge 22:34
10 – Estambul 24:59
11 – Oscarinadas 27:56
12 – Milonga triste 30:19
13 – Bajo el cielo de París 33:17
14 – Nadie me ama 36:30
15 – Bailando rock and roll 39:33
16 – Paso del tigre 43:21
17 – De buen humor 46:15
18 – Delicado 49:34
19 – Besame mucho 52:41
20 – Tres monedas en la fuente 55:17
21 – Candilejas 58:22

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