In the BBC Argentina programme Ignacio Varchausky says something that I found quite curious. He made a number of very interesting remarks, and this one really struck me: '...we have so many outstanding individuals (in Argentina) but as a whole we don't do great as a society, and I think that has to do with the identity issue...'
Tango music has always struck me as very lacking in any kind of 'star' cult. If you didn't already know, would you be able to guess, from the music, which instrument Fresedo, or Miguel Calo, or Lucio Demare played? We all know that Pugliese played piano, but could you guess that from the music? The piano is always there, if you listen, but it only predominates for brief passages. Listening to his music, you might perhaps guess that Troilo played bandoneon, but perhaps only because his phrases are so distinctive, so different from the rest of his orquesta. The ensemble is what seems to matter above the individual: the individual voices are very meticulously balanced so no one voice, no matter whose it is, seems to predominate. Contrast this with jazz: when you listen to the Dizzy Gillespie Allstars there's little doubt that Dizzy Gillespie plays trumpet, and the same is probably true for most jazz bands and orchestras. Kind of Blue? If you didn't already know, you might wonder if Miles Davis played trumpet or sax, but the group is generally there to accompany: to duel with the leader on occasions, but usually to play something of a subordinate role.
Perhaps many outstanding musicians have made a remarkably harmonious society in the orquestas of tango.