Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
458

Omar Sosa: Mulatos

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Omar Sosa: Mulatos "File under Latin Jazz" reads the message to the retailer on the cover of this adventurous, finely wrought and wholly delightful melange of Cuban jazz, Latin dance grooves, French chanson, North African trance music and European folk. And yes, it is Latin jazz, Jim, but not as we generally know it.

Less a conscious, structured world music fusion than some of Sosa's previous projects, and more a free flowing collaboration between musicians from different cultural backgrounds, Mulatos falls into none of the usual world jazz pigeonholes and is very much the product of the particular group of musicians—two Cubans, two North Africans and four Europeans—who recorded it. Most of them already have distinguished genre-busting and musical-miscenegation track records. Tunisian oud master Dhafer Youssef has this month been touring the UK with Norwegian nu-jazzers Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset, Audun Erlien and Rune Arnesen (their performance at the London Jazz Festival was sublime). British drummer Steve Arguelles—who produced Mulatos and recorded it in the main in his adopted hometown, Paris—is an alumni of London's idiosyncratic and culturally inclusive Loose Tubes, and German bassist Dieter Ilg has made some fine jazz-meets-folk albums (two of them, in the late '90s, with Arguelles).

Sosa's humanism, as always, shines through the album and there is a sunny, healing quality running through the set, which is essentially chamber music. Like a European chamber orchestra, the lineup is pared down, the featured instruments are those from the more intimate and mellifluous end of the tonal spectrum, and the performance itself is concerned with subtleties, miniatures and vignettes rather than big events and grand climaxes.

Arguelles's production is appropriately loose limbed and light of touch, scrupulously avoiding the over busy and allowing every constituent part of the music—be it a melody, a rhythm or a texture—to have space and breathe. Sosa solos frequently, mainly on piano, and Paquito D'Rivera and Renaud Pion keep the clarinets centrestage much of the time, but there are also several magical and unexpected duets and trios between Sosa's battery of tuned percussion, Youssef's oud (with its occasional touches of Flamenco guitar and Italian mandolin) and Ilg's fat, expansive basslines.

Music to lose yourself in, and to revive your spirit with.


Track Listing: Ternura; Nuevo Manto; La Tra; Reposo; La Llamada; Dos Caminos; Iyawo; L3zero; El Consenso.

Personnel: Omar Sosa, piano, Fender Rhodes, harmonium, marimba, vibraphone, tubular bells, all percussion, samples, vocal; Dhafer Youssef, oud; Renaud Pion, clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet; Dieter Ilg, acoustic bass; Philippe Foch, tabla, bowl; Steve Arguelles, drums, scratches; Aziz Arradi, guembri, qarqabas, vocal. Paquito D'Rivera, clarinet on "Ternura", "Nuevo Manto" and "Dos Caminos."

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Ota Records | Style: Latin/World


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Eros by Dan Bilawsky
  • JOG by Dan Bilawsky
  • ilé by Dan Bilawsky
  • Senses by Dan Bilawsky
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Read more articles
JOG
JOG
Ota Records
2016
buy
Eros
Eros
Ota Records
2016
buy
ilé
ilé
Ota Records
2015
buy
Senses
Senses
Ota Records
2014
buy
[no cover]
Eggun
Ether
2013
buy
Alma
Alma
Ota Records
2012
buy

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.