Quiero verte una vez más (1940)
Todo te nombra (1940)
My fellow tango blogger, Terpsichoral Tangoaddict, absolutely loves Biagi vocals—among her favorites are “Romántico bulincito” and “Guapo y varón.”
These are my personal top four Biagi/Ortiz vocals. Strangely, though I have no problem mixing singers with Canaro, Lomuto, or Demare, I usually don’t with Biagi.
You may notice that I included another version of “Todo te nombra” in my Canaro tanda, and of course, another version of “Humillación” in my D’Arienzo/Mauré tanda.
Biagi’s vocals are not as popular as his instrumentals, at least in the U.S. They are also, I feel, more difficult to dance. But their rhythmic drive, with Biagi’s trademark unexpected musical accents, makes them very hypnotic, especially when Ortiz starts singing.
Loca de amor (1938)
Lejos de ti (1938)
Viejo portón (1938)
These punchy Biagi valses, recorded right after he left D’Arienzo to form his own orchestra, are just the thing needed to send everyone spinning gleefully across the floor—provided they aren’t too tired. Even if these suffer from overly speedy transfers by sloppy record companies, Teófilo Ibáñez can still sing faster than I can speak, especially in “Viejo portón.” I can listen to that vals on repeat ten times in a row and I attempt sing along…much to the consternation of anyone who happens to be in my company.
El 13 (1938)
Pura clase (1939)
El yaguarón (1940)
La maleva (1939)
Rodolfo Biagi was Juan D’Arienzo‘s pianist from 1935 until 1938, when he left to form an orchestra of his own. His orchestra’s signature is his surprising use of erratic accents on the upbeats, which give his orchestra a jumpy, lively sound.
Opening with “El 13,” recorded just a month after his orchestra’s debut at the cabaret Marabú, this high-energy tanda showcases some of Biagi’s best early instrumentals. He lives up to his nickname Manos Brujas (Wizard Hands) with clear, crisp piano playing on “Pura clase” and “El yaguarón.” The closing song, “La maleva,” composed by Antonio Buglione, is one of the most familiar, often recorded numbers in the tango repertoire, and has a nice blend of drama and sweetness.
For even more punch, I sometimes end this tanda with Quejas de bandoneón (1941), Biagi’s version of composer Juan de Dios Filiberto‘s magum opus.