It wasn't until 1943 that his own orchestra's recordings were first released as seventy-eights, even though he formed his orchestra in 1939. He was black-listed because of his Communist Party card and he was put in jail for a few months for paying his musicians the same amount as he was paid. His orchestra would perform without him and they would always lay a red rose over the piano to indicate his absence. Those were the times. To his eternal honor, it must be said that having the courage to stand up to his convictions kept Pugliese from ever lowering his standards and bowing to pressure from record companies. There were those that caved-in under certainly less pressure.
In the hard-core of Tango, Osvaldo inhabits the axis. He's the hard stuff. A 12-year old single malt as opposed to a cooler. Osvaldo made great music right up to the end of his long and wonderful creative life. To hear what I mean, listen to his live recording at the Teatre Colón from 1989. They played Desde El Alma that night and it is one of the most amazing things you'll ever hear. He didn't compose this Vals, but made a great arrangement. It was composed by 13-year old Rosita Melo.
Pugliese influenced a change in the sound and feel of Tango in each of six decades beginning with his first hit, "Recuerdo" (1921- written when he was barely a teenager). His "La Yumba" in 1943 was like a revelation from on-high. You can hear his influence in almost every arranger's work since the start of the twenties. Today his music is played at Milongas worldwide.
Pugliese's evocative and compelling recordings from the 50's represent the ultimate in passion and expressiveness for me. The 70's material is less explosive after his main players left to form Sexteto Tango in 1968 and his sound did change. In the twilight of his career, he and Astor Piazzolla joined bands for a live concert in Europe. It must have been amazing to be there.
Composed Recuerdo in 1921
Tango: the dance & the music
From street cafes to Teatro Colon