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.
The great Argentinian guitarist Oscar Alem n, (1909-1980) is not as well known as Django Reinhardt or Charlie Christian, but he was no less an individual stylist. This wonderful set from Fremeaux & Associes offers proof that even later in life, his powers as an improviser, technician, and bandleader were undiminished. These 19 cuts were taken from two sources: a live date in 1965 with his big band Y Los Cinco Caballeros, and a studio session. The live gig, which comprises the first 11 selections, may be titled in Spanish but is mostly made up of jazz standards radically rearranged and played in Alem n's inimitable, hard swinging, intensely rhythmic style. Check out opener "Guitarra Salvage" ("Crazy Rhythm" ) and the stellar strut of "Murmullo de Pajaros" ("Lullaby of Birdland" ) for starters.