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Omar Sosa: Live a FIP

C. Michael Bailey By

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Omar Sosa is a Caribbean Thelonious Monk. While his compositions lack Monk's cranky angles, Sosa's songs nevertheless challenge and ultimately soothe the listener with their subtle harmonic turns and melodic velocity. Sosa's Monkness is more apparent in his solos, where he combines dissonance with a Don Pullen-like percussive approach. Sosa's beautiful pianism at first seems to have no form, but reveals its delicate latticework on subsequent listenings. Live à FIP is Sosa's first live recording since 2003's Aleatoric EFX: Live Solo Concert (Ota Records) and the first he's recorded with a "standard quintet.

The pianist covers several pieces from his well-received Mulatos (Ota Records, 2004): "Nuevo Mantos, "Dos Caminos, "Iyawo, and "El Consenso. These songs ground the recording. The opener, "Nuevo Mantos, illustrates Sosa's ability to successfully build a piece from solo piano into a taut framework which is perfect for his quintet's solo musings. Saxophonist Luis Depestre spins a delicate web with his sinewy soprano playing and percussionist Miguel Diaz adds the capsaicin to the mix. The new original "African Sunrise uses voice and various types of percussion in its introduction. Sosa's piano is plaintive against the nervous backdrop.

Sosa ends the disc with his typical closer, "Muevete En D, a shimmering piano piece that reveals the leader's encyclopedic knowledge of jazz music. In many ways this is the least typical of Sosa's compositions, but it is completely accessible and a superb survey of his enormous talent.


Track Listing: Nuevo Manto; Metisse; African Sunrise; Dos Caminos; Iyawo; Paralelo; Muevete En D.

Personnel: Omar Sosa: keyboards, voice; Miguel Diaz: percussion; Steve Arguelles: drums, electronics; Childo Tomas: bass, voice; Luis Depestre: saxophones, percussion.

Title: Live a FIP | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Ota Records


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