Omar Sosa is a fusion artist in the best sense of the word. The virtuosic pianist mixes his Cuban roots with tastes of bebop, free jazz, even hip-hop and electronica, into a strikingly fresh and spicy modern stew that's much more than the sum of its ingredients. Sosa's new duo album with Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles was recorded before a live audience in Japan. Much of the energetic set sounds freely improvised, with Sosa moving from delicate, unabashedly romantic melodies to wild blasts of percussive noise in a manner that recalls the best of Keith Jarrett, though without the grunts. There's an underlying passion and spirituality to Sosa's playing that shines through at all times; plus he's got plenty of chops.
Ovalles, playing a variety of Venezuelan percussion instruments, as well as congas, maracas, guiro, snare and cymbals, interacts seamlessly and unobtrusively with Sosa. The two share a devotion to creative explorations rooted in Afro-Cuban rhythms, but wide open to a world of other influences. This is “Latin jazz” for the 21st century.
Track Listing: Reflection
2. Una Tradicion Negra
3. Iyawo (Opening)
4. Dias de Iyawo
5. Africa Madre Viva
6. Trip in the White Scarf
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.