Fernando Otero – Romance [TrackList follows] – Otero – piano & melodica & quintet with three vocalists – Soundbrush SR1025 (Distr. by Allegro) *****:

This pianist/composer from Buenos Aires is not composing all 11 selections here in a tango-flavored style, but as a sort of laid-back, relaxed and genre-hopping 21st-century chamber music. I’ve held up on reviewing this one, which came out in 2012, because I just couldn’t decide which category to place it in. The tracks are mostly ballad-like, often with vocalese, and only the final track being a vocal with words.  The wordless vocals are very evocative; and a nice way to get around the language problems. Only one track gets a bit more energetic; most are dreamy and lush-sounding. On some one doesn’t even hear Otero’s piano. There’s plenty of strings and clarinet. A few tracks even get a bit jazzy: “Preludio 4” may remind one of An American in Paris. There is also a South American waltz, some Arabic melodies and even a hint of Chopin.

This is the sort of album that can be listening to very closely and appreciated at that level, as well as used for sophisticated background music. And the sonics are exemplary.


1. Ojos Que Se Abren Brillantes
2. Arbolitos
3. Manifestación
4. Piringundin de Almagro
5. En Contacto Permanente
6. Preludio 4
7. Luz Del Primer Día
8. En La Tierra Sagrada
9. Criaturas de la Noche
10. Cancha de Bochas
11. Until the Dawn 

—John Sunier