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by Paul Goupille
posted 01/02/2017

Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano

Composer-pianist-band leader Omar Sosa’s musical trajectory traces the Diaspora from Africa to Cuba and Brazil; from Central America to Ecuador’s African-descent communities; from San Francisco and New York to his current home base in Barcelona. True to his Afro-Cuban origins, Sosa fashions a spirited vision of uncompromising artistic generosity that embraces humanity at large.

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Since he emigrated from Cuba in 1993, Omar Sosa has forged a distinctive musical path, fusing an array of jazz, world music, hip-hop, and electronic elements with his Afro-Cuban roots. Omar’s newest recording, Ilé, marks a homecoming for the pianist and composer to the Latin Jazz influences of his formative years in late ‘80s and early ‘90s Havana. During this period, Omar savored the music of Pancho Quinto, Lázaro Ros, Rubén González, Machito, Benny Moré, Arsenio, Cachao, Lili Martinez, Peruchin, Chucho Valdés, and Irakere. Nominated for 7 Grammy awards, twice for the BBC World Music Awards, recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Smithsonian, and recipient of the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Album of the Year award from the Jazz Journalists Association in NYC, Sosa entwines the expressive traditions of Africa and the Americas in a unique cosmopolitan voice, articulating a brilliant, joyous, and thoroughly contemporary global jazz idiom.

Ilé means home, or earth, in the Lucumí tradition of Cuba, derived from the Yoruba language of West Africa, and it is to the Latin Jazz roots of his native Cuba that Omar returns for inspiration on this new studio recording. Joining him on the project are three seasoned musicians with whom he shares a close connection: fellow Camagüeya- nos, Ernesto Simpson on drums, and Leandro Saint-Hill on alto saxophone, flute and clarinet, and Mozambican electric bassist Childo Tomas – collectively known as Quarteto AfroCubano. These musicians speak the same musical language, using their Cuban and African traditions as a springboard for creative freedom.

Special guests on the recording include Cuban percussionist Pedro Martinez, American guitarist Marvin Sewell, Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry, and maestro Eladio “Don Pancho” Terry, patriarch of the Terry family, on chekere. Featured on vocals is spoken word artist Kokayi. And, reflecting the influence of his extended residency in Barcelona, Omar showcases flamenco vocalist José “El Salao” Martin on several tracks, including a version of renowned Cuban trova composer Sindo Garay’s La Tarde.

Ilé offers contemporary interpretations of some of the classic Cuban musical styles the world has come to admire. Listeners will enjoy a mix of ballads and sophisticated mid and up tempo arrangements. Also included is a set of four atmospheric interludes, featuring traditional music samples combined with improvised piano and soprano saxophone accompaniment. Overall, the compositional focus of the project is on ensemble playing. A noteworthy dimension is Omar’s use of the Fender Rhodes electric piano in equal measure with the acoustic grand piano. Sosa and his band will play at The Basement on 19th February, a show that promises to be unforgettable.

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Who: Omar Sosa “Quartet AfroCubano”

Where: The Basement

When: 19th February 2017

To find out more CLICK HERE.

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