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Juan D'Arienzo

Juan D'Arienzo and his orchestra

In my point of view, tango is, above all, rhythm, nerve, strength and character. I tried to rescue for tango its masculine strength, and today tango has been re-established, our tango, with the vitality of its best times. My major pride is to have contributed to that renaissance of our popular music.

The revolutionary Juan D'Arienzo, "El Rey del Compás" - The king of the beat, single handedly swept tango from middle class drawing rooms back to its real home, the dance hall, propelling an entire generation to its feet with his irresistible and joyful beat. No collection of tango music is worthy of the name without at least some recordings of his legendary and seminal band.

Juan D'Arienzo and his orchestra D'Arienzo has been well represented in the re-issues of the past decade and you should have no trouble picking up some really cracking discs. Be careful though - as we move towards the end of his long career, the D'Arienzo style veers towards the camp, most notably in the vocal numbers.

D'Arienzo's fortunes exploded with the incorporation of pianist Rodolfo Biagi in 1935 and he maintained his band right through to his death in 1976. The band carried on without him under the name "Las Solistas de D'Arienzo" - watch out.

One way to track the evolution of the band is to look at the recordings of La Cumparsita.

What sort of buyer are you?

I'm on a budget - I only want I only want one album of D'Arienzo

De pura cepa (1935-1936)

BMG 669330

You have to really be on a budget to want only one D'Arienzo CD - this is a tough assignment. The Solo Tango reprint of the old FM Tango D'Arienzo disc, which has a perfect balance of 30s and 50s tracks, is now sadly deleted.

Instead we got this brilliant album, the first volume in BMG's 15 disc Homenage en RCA Victor series released by BMG in 2005. It contains a lot of great valses (9) and a couple of milongas as well as tangos which mean it's not the best choice for absolute beginners, but essential for anyone building a collection. The waltzes include the hard to find Pabellón de las rosas.

Superb sleeve notes inform you, for instance, that Lidio Fasoli is the pianist for the first five tracks, with Rodolfo Biagi joining for the recording date of 31st December 1935 that produced 9 de julio and Orillas del plata. Listen yourself for the change in style.

This CD is now deleted but is available in some countries as a digital download.

Track list

  1. Hotel Victoria
  2. Francia vals
  3. De pura cepa milonga
  4. Joaquina
  5. Pabellón de las rosas vals
  6. Nueve de julio
  7. Orillas de plata vals
  8. Silueta porteña milonga
  9. El flete
  10. Tu olvido vals
  11. Lorenzo
  12. La payanca
  13. Rawson
  14. Amor y celos vals
  15. Lágrimas y sonrisas vals
  16. Una lágrima vals
  17. Ataniche
  18. Corazón de artista vals
  19. La viruta
  20. Visión celeste vals

Tango Collection - Juan D'Arienzo

RGS 1639

This cd is stuffed to the gunnels with D'Arienzo's early hits which are strong and rhythmic without being as fast paced as his 50s sides, and it's also quite cheap.

Track list

  1. Don Juan
  2. Pasíon vals
  3. El apronte
  4. La cumparsita
  5. Mentías vals
  6. Homero
  7. Gallo ciego
  8. Valsecito criollo vals
  9. El triunfo
  10. La mariposa
  11. Leila
  12. Charamusca
  13. Retintín
  14. Don Esteban
  15. No llores madre vals
  16. El irresistible
  17. El baqueano
  18. Inolvidable vals
  19. El cencerro
  20. La morocha
  21. Melodía porteña
  22. Valsecito de antes vals
  23. Unión cívica

Sus primeros éxitos vol.1

BMG 63341

This CD is also a good choice for beginners as it focusses on D'Arienzo's tangos from the late 1930s.

Track list

  1. La cumparsita (1937)
  2. Don Juan
  3. Gallo ciego
  4. Pasión vals
  5. Sábado Inglés
  6. El caburé
  7. Jueves
  8. Milonga vieja milonga milonga
  9. Re fa si
  10. 9 de julio
  11. La viruta
  12. Lágrimas y sonrisas vals
  13. El pollito
  14. Derecho viejo
  15. Qué noche!
  16. La puñalada milonga
  17. El cachafaz
  18. Rodríguez Peña
  19. Joaquina
  20. Felicia

I want more

The new choice for those looking to collect D'Arienzo is the splendid 15 disc series released by BMG in 2005. Start with the first disc with it's plethora of waltzes. The first five or so discs are a must. DJs will stop after seven discs, and of course collectors will get all 15!

La Morocha canta: Alberto Echagüe

Magenta 9101

Alberto Echagüe, D'Arienzo's best singer, had three stints with the orchestra of which the best was undoubtedly the first (1938-1939). Bizarrely, and perhaps betraying a certain prejudice, most of these early sides have never been reprinted by EMI. Here we havd to rely on this release from the small Argentine label Magenta to bring us a cd. It's stuffed to the gunnels with great hits, including the iconic Pénsalo bien and some fantastic milongas.

Like other discs on the Magenta series, this was an LP transfer. As such, it suffers from reverberation. Better quality can be found on the digital album Juan D'Arienzo 1937-1938 amazon uk / amazon US

Track list

  1. La morocha
  2. Cabeza de novia vals
  3. Ansiedad
  4. No mientas
  5. Que Dios te ayude
  6. Retintín
  7. Don Esteban
  8. El baqueano
  9. Pénsalo bien
  10. El irresistible
  11. El vino triste
  12. Melodía porteña
  13. Unión Cívica
  14. Estampa de varon milonga
  15. Milonga querida milonga
  16. De antaño milonga


Alberto Echagüe (2-5,9,11,14-16)

ECD 1100

El rey del compás

ECD 1100

This CD has D'Arienzo's best stereo versions from the 60s and 70s. it includes the tango milonga Papas calientes and the wonderful Este es el rey - this transfer is better than the one on D'Arienzo for Export vol.3. Ignore the fact that the cover photo is printed back to front, this is a marvellous cd. Released as an lp in 1982 and then on cd in 1993, it's been in print ever since.

Track list

  1. La cumparsita (1971)
  2. Quejas de bandoneón
  3. Don Juan (1950)
  4. La puñalada milonga
  5. Qué noche!
  6. El chamuyo
  7. El arroyito
  8. El opio
  9. Gran Hotel Victoria
  10. C.T.V.
  11. 9 de julio
  12. Papas calientes tango-milonga
  13. La chiflada
  14. El pollito
  15. El buey solo
  16. Este es el rey

I'm a DJ or collector - I need all the good stuff

For more of his thirties/fourties material:

For more of his great 50s instrumentals: the album on Euro Records shared with Di Sarli, Dos músicos, dos estilos (EU16019). The quality is fabulous - you must get this CD.

For more of the stereo recordings you can buy the cd reissues of the D'Arienzo for Export lps. The four lps were re-issued over three 3 cds. They still make excellent listening. Or you could get the RCA Victor 100 Años disc - but not before you get the El Rey del Compás cd recommended above.

I want everything

If you must hear D'Arienzo's 1950s vocal interpretations, don't let me stop you. D'Arienzo's 50s sides with his most popular singer Alberto Echagüe are available on the cd Sus Grandes Exitos which is really quite good in places, with more available on Tango Argentino on the cd Joyas del lunfardo. That label is also the place to hear his sides with Mario Bustos (Tangos Orilleros) & Jorge Valdéz (Sentimental vol.1 and 2). You can hear more of Bustos on the BMG album Bueno, Derecho y Varón (ECD1101), the sister cd to ECD1100. Plus there's a cd covering the years 1954-1957 (EU16009) on Euro Records. There's more on Tango Argentino (11 cds in all) but it's too boring to list them all here - ask me if you're really interested.

You can hear the 1928 orchestra on El Bandoneón (EBCD-133). Carlos Dante and Francisco Fiorentino are the estrebillistas.

Where next...

© Michael Lavocah / 2000-2018