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Swing Guitar Masterpieces

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Album Review

Oscar Alemán is one of the great unknown talents in jazz history. A brilliant guitarist who sounded very close to Django Reinhardt at times, Alemán was overshadowed in Europe by Reinhardt in the 1930s and spent much of the rest of his career in his native Argentina, remaining well known only in that country. This 1998 double CD from Dave Grisman's Acoustic Disc label has highlights from Alemán's career, including the eight selections he recorded during his three European sessions of 1938-1939, plus music from 1941-1947 and 1951-1954. Although the settings varied (including a sextet with violinist Svend Asmussen, a nonet, and two unaccompanied guitar solos), Alemán's basic swing style stayed the same, retaining its enthusiasm and creativity and remaining unaffected by bop. Sticking throughout to acoustic guitar and taking an occasional good-time vocal, Alemán is heard in peak form. He deserves to be much better known. A definitive two-fer from a major talent.

Biography

Born: 20 February 1909 in Restencia, Argentina

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Oscar Alemán, one of the finest jazz guitarists of the 1930s, is a difficult player to evaluate because he sounded like a near-exact duplicate of Django Reinhardt. Since Django was a year younger, some have speculated that he developed his style from Alemán, although the opposite is just as likely. Alemán began playing guitar as a teenager in Argentina and in the late '20s, he moved to Europe, Spain at first. By 1931, he was living in Paris and during 1933-1935, he was a regular member of Freddy...
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Swing Guitar Masterpieces, Oscar Alemán
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