In what might be considered a heartfelt ode to Africa, Cuba and America, Grammy-winning pianist/composer, Omar Sosa offers Across The Divide: A Tale Of Rhythm & Ancestry. Both inspired and uplifting it encompasses a "song cycle" that documents the shared rhythms of Sosa's ancestry and Tim Eriksen, a New England ethno-musicologist specializing in native and adopted American music.
The program musically tells of the paths of history towards the present; informed of the Middle Passage slave ships bound for America to the election of Barack Obama, the United States' first African-American president. Blending jazz, folk, song and spoken word, with both acoustic/electronic instruments and technologies, it emphatically embraces the differences and celebrates the similarities of cultures.
Recorded live at New York's Blue Note (with savvy post production sound sculpting), Sosa's sextet presented a thought provoking and entertaining performance. Divergent styles are experienced in "Promised Land" where Eriksen hauntingly sings an 18th century Welsh hymn, better known as "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah," and still commonly heard in Black churches in the South. His Celtic-tinged voice in contrast with the melody, interspersed with sampled readings from Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. This followed by the exhilarating "Glu-Glu," a dancing instrumental filled with the sounds of chants as Sosa rises with prismatic soloing.
The remaining tracks move between equally eclectic shores. "Gabriel's Trumpet" a mid-19th century tune from Maine, is reborn as American folklore meets Afro-Cubano; Eriksen's rural dialect meshed comfortably within the soulful, jazzed gospel groove. The stirringly poignant "Across Africa" pieces are encapsulated in a rain forest of sounds including piano, flute, and electronica such as the sampled voices of Sosa's children.
Sosa, Eriksen and cast of other talents unveil a place where the banjo is at peace with the saxophone, the piano is kin to kalimba, disparate languages are translated, and music across varied borders finds commonality. Another profound recording by the continually searching Omar Sosa.
Promised Land; Glu-Glu; Gabriel's Trumpet; Across Africa (The Dream);
Across Africa (The Arrival); Sugar Baby Blues; Night of the Four
Songs; Solstice; Ancestors.
Omar Sosa: piano, Fender Rhodes, electronics, samplers, vocals; Tim
Eriksen: vocals, banjo, violin; Childo Tomas: electric and electro-
acoustic bass guitars, kalimba, chigovia, vocals; Marque Gilmore:
acousti-lectric drumz, vocals; Leandro Saint-Hill: soprano, alto,
tenor saxophones, clarinet, flutes, caxixis; David Gilmore: acoustic
& electric guitars; Ramon Diaz: bat drums, congas, cajon, vocals.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.