Oscar Aleman • Ritmo Loco – El Rey de la Guitarra Swing

Jazz Classic of the Month

Oscar Aleman (1909-80) was born and raised in Argentina but is best-known today for his work in Europe in the 1930s. At that time, the guitarist had a very similar sound and style to Django Reinhardt (a good friend), he enjoyed opportunities to play with a visiting Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and recorded with trumpeters Bill Coleman and Freddy Taylor, clarinetist Eddie Brunner, violinist Svend Asmussen, clarinetist Danny Polo, and two sessions of his own.

After the Nazis occupied France, Aleman fled back to Argentina where he spent the rest of his life, apparently never visiting the U.S. While he worked and recorded steadily in the 1940s and ’50s and made several comeback albums during 1972-74, Aleman’s fame was largely confined to his native country despite his talents.

Red Wood Coast

Ritmo Loco – El Rey de la Guitarra Swing collects 24 of Oscar Aleman’s best recordings from 1941-57. While he starts off with a quintet similar to the one that Reinhardt had with violinist Stephane Grappelli, by later in the 1940s Aleman (who had switched to electric guitar) showed more individuality and the instrumentation of his group had expanded, eventually utilizing three violinists. While a crowd pleasing singer and dancer, Aleman remained a swing stylist on guitar, swinging hard on originals and American jazz standards (which were often given names in Spanish). With fine solos contributed by violinists Manuel Gavinovich and Raul Casanova, and clarinetist Mario Felix, Aleman is in top form on such numbers as “Limehouse Blues,” “Improvisaciones Sobre Boogie Woogie,” “Diga Diga Doo,” “Crazy Rhythm,” and “In The Mood.”

This valuable collection shows that Oscar Aleman’s career was far from over when he left Paris in 1941.

Oscar Aleman • Ritmo Loco – El Rey de la Guitarra Swing
Saga Jazz 00753 10987

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Scott Yanow

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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