FERNANDO OTERO – “Vital” – compositions, arrangements & performace by Fernando Otero, piano (with violin, cellos, guitar, doublebass, drums, tenor sax, trumpet, trombones & bandoneon) – World Village 468094, 35.7 min. [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****½:
Argentine pianist-composer Otero infuses all his piano music with the dramatic spirit of his country’s tango, even though the instrumentation (aside from the single bandoneon in a couple selections) isn’t what one usually hears in a tango ensemble. At the same time his works share a classical chamber music orientation, as well as passages of jazz improvisation. In a way Otero is taking the tango-based symphonic music of Piazzolla into the chamber music area, but with a bow to more avant contemporary composers than Piazzolla favored. Some of these pieces would fit well into a concert of works by Bartok, Legeti or Crumb.
Violin or cello and piano seems to be a favored combination of Otero’s. Others are just solo piano. One selection is less than a minute in length. Altogether a fascinating mixture of influences revolving around the tango but obviously not to be danced to.
TrackList: Nocturno, Aguaribay, Globalizacion, Siderata, La Abundancia, Danza Preludio 22, Danza, Reforma Mental, La Casa Vacia, Noche Iluminada, Fin de Revision
– John Sunier
A Texas singer-songwriter’s legend lives on with this journey of personal discovery and anecdotal cleverness.