Carlos Lazzari, bandoneon player, composer and arranger passed away Tuesday night, June 9, 2009 in Buenos Aires.
He was born on December 9, 1925. He began his professional career playing under the guidance of Pedro Maffia.
He later shared with other alumni of the 1940’s generation, the rise to fame of the Miguel Calo orchestra. He alternated as a member of a prestigious bandoneon line up that included the likes of Armando Pontier, Juan Cambareri, Eduardo Rovira, and others.
In 1945, he followed Osmar Maderna when the pianist left Miguel Calo to form his own orchestra, then moved on to play with Francisco Canaro until 1950 when he joined the Juan D’Arienzo orchestra where he spent 25 years as 1st bandoneon, soloist, arranger, and composer. He was instrumental in the transformation of the traditional sound of the early D’Arienzo orchestras writing with more interesting melodic and harmonic ideas that contributed to the longevity of the D’Arienzo brand.
Indeed, in addition to being a dynamic bandoneon player, Lazzari, in his later years, demonstrated his capabilities as an arranger. Of particular note is the way in which he continued to create fresh, rich sounds that gave a contemporary air to the broad-boned style of the D’Arienzo orchestra. It is because of Lazzari’s extensive behind the scenes efforts that the so-called D’Arienzo style never showed any signs of aging.
Carlos Lazzari eventually took over on the responsibilities of a business manager. As D’Arienzo’s trusted heir he was the one and only person authorized to use the “Juan D’Arienzo Orchestra” brand name after the King of the Rythm’s death in 1976. After D’Arienzo’s death, Lazzari made four trips to Japan. In 1982 he led his orchestra on an immensely successful performance tour around Argentina.
He later went on to direct and arrange for Los Solistas de D’Arienzo with whom he played for many years for dancers at the Nuevo Salon La Argentina.
Until the time of his death he has played nearly every night a La Ventana in San Telmo. But his celebrity status rose to rock star dimensions when he was featured as bandoneonista y arranger in producer’s Gustavo Santaolalla’s traditional tango project Cafe de los Maestros, released as a documentary, a book and a series of recordings of great exponents like Leopoldo Federico, Lagrima Rios, Carlos Lazzari, Aníbal Arias, Alberto Podesta, Horacio Salgán, Ernesto Baffa, Virginia Luque, Mariano Mores and Emilio Balcarce.
On a clear Buenos Aires evening in late February of this year, Lazzari may not have known that he was making one of his last public appearances as a member of the Cafe de los Maestros cast during a free concert sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the city of Buenos Aires. That fateful Palermo by the Panetarium evening was also a dream come true for British blogger and two year Buenos Aires resident Sallycat. She witnessed a fading page of history unfold before her eyes. We share her feelings as she wrote,
Gabriel ‘Chula’ Clausi’s hands are 97 years old, but they can love the bandoneon on his knee into a solo melody exquisite enough to silence a crowd of thousands. And for two hours it was the hands of Maestros that mesmerised me from the big screen. Clausi’s, Leopoldo Federico’s, Carlos Lazzari’s (who must have been granted a night off from La Ventana), Ernesto Baffa’s. Some of these men needed assistance to walk from the wings to their seat on the stage. Some of their bodies stooped. Some were unsteady on their feet. Their bandoneons were carried to them by youthful stagehands. Each man waited while a black cloth and then their ‘musical box’ was placed across their thighs. Then hands that have touched time for almost a century, pressed and pulled and created beauty.