Tesoro has a unique sound that captivates even the most sophisticated Flamenco purists and enthusiasts. The group’s sound is a mestizo of world genres layered on top of the aggressive yet sensual sounds of acoustic and electric guitar riffs rooted in flamenco. Tesoro takes flamenco fusion to a new level.
The group was founded in 2000 by Brian Scott and Justin Fernandez. The pair met in high school in Tucson, Arizona and first became aware of each other’s musical hobbies in guitar class. Brian’s background in music was that of classical and alternative rock. He began playing guitar when he was just five-years-old. Justin on the other hand had started in piano, moving to traditional flamenco guitar once he reached his early teenage years. In class, the two immediately began experimenting with a mix between Brian's classical guitar and rock styles and Justin's flamenco background.
Fusion rumba styles were created from the onset as they spent countless hours teaching each other their respective styles and riffs. The Gipsy Kings were a significant influence to both Brian and Justin. The duo was excited to spread their sound to music-goers around the Tucson area, and proceeded to perform regularly at local restaurants and bars. The two collaborated with a local recording studio, bass player, and percussionist to record and release “Como en Vivo” in April of 2003.
Shortly after finishing “Como en Vivo” in April 2003, Andrew McClarron was introduced to the group. Andrew is a self-taught bassist from Bermuda, and grew up in Tucson. He made his presence known immediately with his amazing abilities to learn and write material, enhancing the sound established by the duo. The bass element added a unique twist to the flamenco and rock influences that Brian and Justin had created; it seemed like a natural fit. Andrew, a Gipsy Kings, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Maná fan from a young age, immediately brought the energy and precision that influenced his playing to Tesoro.
A friend of the Fernandez family began performing as percussionist on the congas, bongos, and cajon. The newly formed quartet practiced vigorously and began playing numerous shows together around the Tucson and Phoenix areas. The group would continue to push the boundaries of flamenco fusion by incorporating drums, creating a sound that captured the seductive rhythm of South American rumbas and precision of jazz and classical melodies. Songs Mohave Road, Encanto, and Muy Chingon would emerge as signature tracks on the band’s “Live in Studio 2A” album released in 2006. Tesoro would later return to KXCI 91.3FM studios in 2011 to record new material for release to the public. Flamenco in the Key of X, Cubano Nuevo, and Tesoro were a few of the original songs that the group recorded and released on the 2011 album.
Tesoro was beginning to experience media recognition from Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Citizen, Tucson Weekly, and La Estrella publications for their contribution to live music in the Old Pueblo. The group also held a successful series of Flamenco Fusion Gypsy Theater productions at the Historic Hotel Congress during 2004 – 2005. The band collaborated with Flamenco and belly dancers to put on a show that kept audiences intrigued and mesmerized. The band was interested in exploring new ideas and varying approaches to the instrumental music it was performing. The band would then proceed to co-produce a musical theater production for Radio Elektra with Molehill Orchestra and Flam Chen, a gipsy orchestra band and fire-spinning troupe. The event was a massive success and provided a gateway to a more diverse band with the ability to keep fans engaged and excited.
The band would eventually go their separate ways in 2007, leaving fans to wonder if the group would ever reunite to create and perform music again.
Re-uniting in 2010 Brian, Justin, and Andrew were ready to once again create original music by fusing even more genres together with unique taste and color. The time away allowed each band member to focus on their own respective musical focus, and made the reunion more powerful. For the very first time vocal arrangements were a focus Tesoro. Manuel Iñigo, an accomplished vocalist and percussionist jumped at the opportunity to sing with the band. Manuel’s song-writing capabilities were sharp; his passion unmatched. Manuel added a completely new dimension to the band, adding a new layer of flavor to the music. Justin was also singing lead on a number of songs, including original vocal songs Viviré and Mírate, along with Andrew adding his vocal talents on backup and harmonies.
With the addition of Manuel, the group was almost complete. After re-uniting the band was still missing the beat, the backbone of any great Latin/Rock/Fusion band...drums. Andrew sought after Gabriel Kaiser, a well-known drummer in the Tucson area. Gabriel was a perfect fit for the group; with remarkable rhythm, unconditional work ethic, and innovative ideas, Gabriel was eager to learn material and perform live. One of Gabriel's primary musical influences is the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin; which is heard in his drumming when Tesoro performs live. Gabriel added an element to the sound that Tesoro had worked to capture for nearly a decade. Although Tesoro had been known as flamenco fusion, it was solidified with the addition of Gabriel. All moving parts were working together fluidly to create a euphoric listening experience.
The band recorded a live album at Hotel Congress in February 2012. The release was voted as first runner-up in the Tucson Area Music awards (Tucson Weekly TAMMIES), and that same year Tucson Lifestyle name Tesoro as Top Local Entertainment.
In late 2012 Manuel turned his reigns as co-lead vocalist over to Stefania, a friend of the band who has nearly 25 years of experience singing. Manuel is forever considered family to Brian, Andrew, Justin, and Gabi. As Tesoro incorporated Stefania’s musical talent into new and existing musical compositions, an intriguing and dynamic sound was propelled even further. Stefania’s delicate yet powerful vocal lines and harmonies added a new level of musical sophistication to the group.
Each band member brings a unique background and musical influences to create a fusion of sound sure to inspire the soul. Collectively the group supports various charity events around Tucson; as well as making time to perform for elementary schools to reiterate the importance of musical education. With only great writing years ahead, Tesoro’s dynamic, energetic, and romantic music is what makes the group a must-see.