Argentine composer and pianist Fernando Otero found his voice as writer, musician and bandleader when, at the urging of one of his music teachers, he began to incorporate the indigenous sounds of his native Buenos Aires into his work. He was just a teenager then, but an exceptionally gifted one, a serious student of classical music with an ability to master a variety of instruments from a very young age. Otero had already begun to experiment with rudimentary home recordings and was eager to start writing on his own, though he gravitated more to a jazz idiom than a classical one. Otero liked popular music too -- often learning as much from the rock and jazz albums his older sister brought home as from his formal lessons – but he had given little thought to the gorgeous clamor around him.
As he recalls, a guitar and composition instructor, Marcelo Braga Saralegui “showed me the possibility of developing something with the roots of tango, the sound of tango. Not necessarily tango itself, but the music I heard as a child, the sound in the streets. I started working with a bandoneon player and tried my first project, which I called X Tango.”
Twenty years have passed since Otero opened his ears to this wealth of ideas, and ever since he has pursued his vision of X Tango. On his Nonesuch debut "Pagina de Buenos Aires", he does evokes a feeling of Buenos Aires – something you can sense even if you’ve never been there --through his innovative use of the bandoneon, the accordion-like instrument at the heart of all tango. But the world Otero conjures up is really all his own. Tango is a jumping-off point for an instrumental sound that boasts the improvisatory thrill of jazz within a more formal, contemporary classical structure. In his last CD "Pagina de Buenos Aires", his work is often short, fast-paced and intense, full of enough dramatic stops and starts to astonish first-time listeners -- and confound any couple that might be fooled into thinking this is simply dance music.