Thursday, 2 August 2012

Osvaldo Fresedo - Overview

Osvaldo Fresedo is one of the most interesting characters in the history of tango. He was apparently the longest recording tango musician ever. My music collection indicates 60 years of recording (the first from 1920, the last from 1980). Todo Tango's biography mentions 63 years. That's a very long period and lots of things have happened during that time.

Not many people know that in the 1920ies and early 1930ies, Fresedo was recording in Guardia Vieja style (similar to Orquesta Tipica Victor, Adolfo Carabelli, etc...). Some of the recordings from that period are really amazing and I will surely write a separate post about them. I hope they will be becoming more popular and we will hear them more frequently in the milongas...

His most popular recordings come from the 1930ies and the 1940ies. During that period he developed his very particular and easy to recognize style. The music is very soft, romantic and it feels like it has some Hollywood touch. Fresedo's orchestra from that time could hardly be called "Típica". A¨normal¨ orchestra "típica" (as it is the case of the most famous tango orchestras) includes: violins, bandoneóns, piano, and double bass.. Fresedo's orchestra on top of the standard instruments  included harp, vibraphone and drums. That surely contributed to his unique style.

During the 1950ies his music gets a more jazzy flavour. It's still very good and danceable (though I would not play it in milongas too often). Later recordings are rather interesting for listening only.

Fresedo's discography is quite big (more than 1000 recordings), but one can hardly find any songs suitable for dancing milongas and valses. As far as I remember I have heard only once a tanda of Fresedo's valses (during La Latina marathon in Rome). I liked it a lot, but I'd treat is as something special and keep it for only very rare occassions.
Fresedo had quite many prominent singers recording with his orchestra. Below I list the main ones:

Early Period / Guardia Vieja style (1920 - 1932)
  • Ernesto Famá
  • Ada Falcón
  • Teófilo Ibañez
  • Luis Díaz
 Middle Period / Hollywood style (1932 - 1950)
  • Roberto Ray
  • Ricardo Ruiz
  • Carlos Mayel
  • Oscar Serpa
Late Period / Jazzy Fresedo (after 1950)
  • Héctor Pacheco
  • Armando Garrido
The singers from the early period are surely more known from their recordings with different orchestras: Ernesto Famá with di Sarli and Canaro, Ada Falcón with Canaro, Teofilo Ibañez with Biagi, Luis Díaz with Orchestra Típica Victor and Edgardo Donato.

That's enough for now, let's move to the next post to listen to some music and watch some videos.


  1. I don't know whether you count singers as tango musicians, but Alberto Podesta is still recording, and oh boy he started at age 16, 72 years ago, in 1940 with Roberto Calo!!!

  2. Definitely singers are tango musicians :). I did not know that Podestá was still recording. I knew that he is performing in some milongas in Buenos Aires. I guess I´ll need to change the comment saying: "the longest recording tango orchestra". I hope you will not catch me on that one :)

  3. Ok, to be honest I don't *know* whether he is still recording (in studios), but I have seen recent performances of his with couple of young orchestras on youtube, and I assume they also record some of these pieces together...