Omar Sosa New AfroCuban Quartet

Live at Blue Note Jazz Club
New York City
May 4, 2014
“Iyawo”

Featuring Ernesto Simpson, drums; Childo Tomas, electric bass; Leandro Saint-Hill, flute

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July 2013 Newsletter

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Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano

NEW VIDEO: CLAZZ Festival in Madrid, June 29, 2013

Featuring Julio Barreto, drums; Childo Tomas, electric bass; Leandro Saint-Hill, saxophones

Omar Sosa segment starts at 42:20

Festival de Jazz Latino Clazz 2013

U.S. Tour Announced – November 2013

November 2 Tempe Center for the Arts

Tempe, AZ

November 3 Osher Marin JCC

San Rafael, CA

November 4 Kuumbwa Jazz Center

Santa Cruz, CA

November 5 Mission Theater

Portland, OR

November 6 Kirkland Performance Center

Kirkland, WA

November 7 Mount Vernon Country Club

Golden, CO

November 8 Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit, MI

November 9 Kerrytown Concert House

Ann Arbor, MI

November 15 Bethesda Blues & Jazz

Bethesda, MD

November 16 Montgomery CCC

Blue Bell, PA

CLAZZ Madrid – Continental Latin Jazz

Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano
Saturday, June 29 – Teatros del Canal

Desertico


Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano marks a homecoming for Omar to the influences of his formative years at the Escuela Nacional de Musica in Havana and later at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, where he savored the music of Pancho Quinto, Lazaro Ross, Ruben Gonzalez, Machito, Benny More, Ismael Rivera, Arsenio, Cachao, Lili Martinez, Peruchin, Chucho Valdes, and Irakere. Joining him on this adventure are three musicians with whom, in one way or another, Omar shares a very close relationship: fellow Cubans, Julio Barreto on drums, and Leandro Saint-Hill on saxophones and flutes, and Mozambican bassist and longtime rhythm section collaborator, Childo Tomas.

Omars concept is to put together musicians who speak the same musical language, and who are able to use their Cuban traditions as a springboard for creative freedom.

Omars Quarteto AfroCubano will explore contemporary interpretations of some of the classic Cuban musical styles the world has come to enjoy: Danzon, Cha-Cha-Cha, Bolero, Changui. All of the material is informed by the powerful African traditions of Santeria, Abakua, Makuta, Nongo, and Palo Monte. The groups repertoire will include a number of Omars signature compositions, including Cha Cha Du Nord, Mis Tres Notas, and Iyawo, the later featuring an irresistible expression of son montuno. Both popular and religious chants will be arranged with contemporary harmonies and African rhythms. These African rhythms form the basis of much Cuban music. The result is a musical journey into the ensembles personal vision of various AfroCuban traditions.

Julio Barreto is one of the most sought after touring and studio drummers of his generation. He has played with Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Steve Coleman, and David Sanchez, and has shared the stage with Ron Carter, John Patitucci, Charlie Haden and Chico Freeman, to name just a few. Julio Barreto is featured on several Omar Sosa CDs, including Afreecanos and Ceremony. He lives in Zurich.

Saxophone and flute virtuoso Leandro Saint-Hill began his musical studies in Camagey at age eleven. After graduating, he moved to Havana where he played with rock star Tanja, bolero diva Beatriz Marquez, jazz pianist Carlos Maza Quintet, and salsa star Manolin. Since moving to Hamburg in 1994, Mr. Saint-Hill has worked with Cuarteto Chanchullo, Tony Martinez, Julio Barreto, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Hilton Ruiz, and Chico Freeman, and has performed at Jazz Baltica, Montreux Jazz Festival, and Leverkusen Jazztage.

Bassist, percussionist, and African vocalist Childo Tomas began playing music at the age of 16 in various traditional, popular, and jazz groups in Maputo, Mozambique. He has toured with Omar Sosa since 2004 and is featured on the Omar Sosa GRAMMY-nominated recording, Across The Divide, as well as Omars new CD release, EGGUN. He lives in Barcelona.

New Omar Sosa CD, “EGGUN”

RELEASE DATE: February 2013

EGGUN: The Afri-Lectric Experience began as an Omar Sosa commission from the Barcelona Jazz Festival in 2009. The assignment: to compose and produce a tribute performance to Miles Davis classic recording, Kind Of Blue, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Inspired by various musical elements and motifs from Kind Of Blue, Omar wrote a suite of music honoring the spirit of freedom in Davis seminal work. Featuring trumpet and two saxophones, Eggun provides a medium for musical elements from Africa to shape and develop the music. The resulting jazz textures are further enhanced by the subtle and expressive use of electronic elements. At the heart of the recording is the spirit of Mother Africa.

The featured horn players are Joo Kraus on trumpet (Germany), Leandro Saint-Hill on alto saxophone and flute (Cuba), and Peter Apfelbaum on tenor saxophone (U.S.A.). Omars longtime rhythm section of Marque Gilmore on drums (U.S.A.) and Childo Tomas on electric bass (Mozambique) create the foundation.

Special guests on the project include Lionel Loueke on guitars (Benin), Marvin Sewell on guitars (U.S.A.), Pedro Martinez on Afro-Cuban percussion (Cuba), John Santos on percussion (U.S.A.), and Gustavo Ovalles on Afro-Venezuelan percussion (Venezuela). The CD was recorded primarily in Brooklyn, NY. Of particular interest is a set of six Interludios, interspersed among the primary tracks of the recording, inspired by melodic elements from the solos of Bill Evans.

Eggun, in the West African spiritual practice of If and its various expressions throughout the African Diaspora, are the spirits of those who have gone before us, both in our immediate families and those who serve as our Spirit guides.

From the liner notes, by Joan Cararach, artistic director of the Barcelona Jazz Festival:

Harmony, peace, respect, freedom. That has been Omar Sosas response to our proposal: to revisit Kind of Blue, by Miles Davis, from his own (quite exceptional) aesthetic assumptions. The year was 2009. The 41st Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival had hired drummer Jimmy Cobb the only surviving member of the groups original line-up who created that record and a tribute band committed to revive, in concert, the memory of that iconic jazz piece. But Kind of Blue, rather than a museum piece, is a mysterious record with an intimacy to be disclosed very slowly, generation after generation, beyond the commonplaces of history books.

Thats why we asked two artists who are familiar with our festival to revisit Kind of Blue from another perspective, following the artistic principles evoked by Bill Evans in his notes to the record signed by Davis: be yourself, be spontaneous, give all you have to give, everything you learned from those who came before and those you are sharing the road with. We selected Chano Domnguez, from Andaluca, who contributed Flamenco Sketches (Blue Note, 2012), and Cuban Omar Sosa, who did a powerful research of Miles Davis record.

Eggun (ancestors) is not a typical record, just as Sosa is not a typical pianist. The artist, at first reluctant, became obsessed probing into Kind of Blue to find nothing else but the paradoxes of a never-ending search: love and indifference; exile and emigration; being here and now with the lessons of those who illuminated us; restless energy and deliberate contemplation; the uncanny twists and turns of our souls and the shades of our lives; the constant strain between grief and joy, contradictory and supplementary at the same time.

Eggun essentially derives from the melodic cells of Kind of Blues solos and has the aim of honoring that record, which, lets say it once more, is hardly known in spite of having been used and abused. Eggun is like all of Sosas works, an invitation to a journey plentiful with luxury, peace and sensuality (thanks, Baudelaire!). We have a welcome with Alejet white in Arabic and El Alba. All the sounds of the African diaspora where Moroccan bendir meets Dominican merengue and Puerto Rican plena: So All Freddie. The interludes, almost sacred invocations to the genius of Bill Evans. And a passionate desperation in the finale, as in records conceived the old way, like a narrative, followed by the final rest, grace in a religious sense, like an overflowing energy which at the end of the journey becomes pure togetherness.

Kindness, in short.

Joan Anton Cararach is the Artistic Director of the Barcelona Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival. In 2009 he commissioned ‘Eggun’ to Omar Sosa to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’.

New Omar Sosa-Paolo Fresu CD “ALMA”

Release: January 2012

Alma is the new recording collaboration between six-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist, Omar Sosa, and celebrated Italian trumpet and flugelhorn player, Paolo Fresu. The CD features guest cello contributions on four tracks by the masterful Brazilian conductor, arranger, producer, and cellist, Jaques Morelenbaum. Recorded in Udine, Italy in May 2011, and produced by Paolo Fresu and Omar Sosa for Mr. Fresus label imprint, Tuk Music, the compositions are written by Omar Sosa and Paolo Fresu, except for Under African Skies, a gentle version of the popular track from the Paul Simon CD, Graceland.

Mr. Sosa first invited Paolo Fresu to join his band as a guest for a concert at NDR studios in Hamburg in 2006, which resulted in the release of a live recording entitled Promise, in 2007. Omar and Paolo toured together in Italy in July 2009, which further deepened the special musical chemistry between the artists, and inspired them to plan a Duo recording. Both admirers of Jaques Morelenbaums artistry, Omar and Paolo invited him to participate in the project. And when Omar traveled to So Paulo for a concert in August 2011, a studio session was organized. Mr. Morelenbaums illustrious career includes work with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso, Carlinhos Brown, Gilberto Gil, and Japanese pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto. Mr. Morelenbaum also did the arrangements for the recent Omar Sosa CD, Ceremony, with the NDR Bigband, which received a 2011 ECHO Jazz Award.

Paolo Fresu is a prolific artist, whose touring and recording history includes work with Carla Bley, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Holland, John Zorn and Ralph Towner, to mention just a very few. He also serves as artistic director for the Berchidda Festival (Time In Jazz) and the Nuoro Jazz Seminars. Mr. Fresu, who is from Sardinia, recently celebrated his 50th birthday by producing a series of 50 concerts in Sardinia on 50 consecutive days during the summer of 2011, featuring musicians he has collaborated with over the years. Omar Sosa joined him for a Duo performance in Cagliari on July 9th (concert number 26)!

The music on Alma, meaning soul in Spanish, is a mix of jazz and Cuban and world music, melodic and soulful, including a fiery version of Omars composition Angustia. Mr. Morelenbaum is featured on both the title track, Alma, and the opening track, SInguldu, as well as Omar Sosas new composition, Crepuscolo, and the version of Paul Simons Under African Skies. Mr. Fresus flugelhorn work is rich and warm. Sosas stylings are fresh and inventive. And the playful musical connection between the two is evident throughout the recordings. We have a sense of these accomplished artists dancing together, creating an expressive and poetic link between Cuba and the Mediterranean, offering us a wide range of subtle and engaging musical colors.

Omar Sosa in Sao Paulo – August 25, 2011




New Omar Sosa Solo Piano CD “Calma”

We are pleased to announce the release of Omar Sosa’s new solo piano CD, “Calma”, set for worldwide release in March 2011.

Calma is Omar Sosa’s fifth solo piano recording, a work of singular artistry, featuring Omars unique and original approach to the genre. The CD is comprised of 13 solo piano improvisations, fusing stylistic elements of jazz, classical new music, ambient, and electronica. As the title implies, the overall feeling is relaxed and introspective, without any attempt to impress technically. Rather, the intent is to evoke a mood of reflection and contemplation.

As Omar describes: Each song is an inspiration for the next, and improvisation is the basis of the musical expression. I wanted to play from beginning to end without thinking just feeling where each note would take me, following the voice of my soul. Its possible that silence, yearning, hope, optimism, and sadness all travel hand-in-hand in many of the songs.

The recording features a rarely heard combination of acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, and various electronic effects and sampled sounds. All of these instruments were recorded live together in the studio, without overdubs the artist interacting spontaneously, in real-time, with the various sonic elements.

Omars unorthodox harmonic sensibilities are evident throughout Calma. We hear surprising harmonic turns, with sonorities blending and resolving in unpredictable ways. And Omars subtle and integral use of the electronic elements lends a layer of sonic richness and depth to many of the tracks.

Rhythmically, the feeling of the CD is unhurried and meditative. Sensations of floating and suspension of time prevail. Melodically, the thematic material on Calma is quiet and restrained. We can imagine the melodic sensibilities of Erik Satie meeting those of Pierre Boulez.

Calma was recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn, New York on October 14, 2009

Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband in Barcelona

Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband
Barcelona Jazz Festival
November 30, 2010
Palau de la Musica Catalana

By Enrique Turpin

Cuando un pianista se presenta frente a su publico con una big band, tres percusionistas y un arreglista de lujo, ya se puede uno imaginar el lugar del que se nutrieron los genes de sus ancestros y las aspiraciones de su ofrecimiento musical. No obstante, que alguien se esfuerce por transportar la imagen de un mundo encerrado entre las teclas de un Steinway al universo metalizado de una gran orquesta no garantiza un resultado memorable. Omar Sosa, el ms africano de los pianistas caribeos, volva al festival de su ciudad de adopcin, Barcelona, envuelto en honores: presentaba con aires de primicia absoluta Ceremony (OTA Records, 2010), el proyecto que ha llevado a cabo con la NDR Big Band bajo las ordenes y arreglos de la antigua mano derecha de Antonio Carlos Jobim, el maestro violonchelista Jaques Morelenbaum, otro carioca universal.

Vaya por delante que el espectculo logr superar todas las expectativas puestas en la velada. Sosa reforzo la apuesta e invito a Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez a que montase su bateria en el centro del escenario del Palau. Sabe bien Sosa que el secreto de la cubania reside en la pareja que forman clave y timbal (con el guiro como potenciador de sabor). Asi, a los 20 minutos de iniciarse el concierto, El Negro ya dejo caer un solo con las mazas que parecia sacado de un laboratorio acolchado de quimica tropical. Con delicadeza extrema, el batera parecia no querer importunar con sus ritmos a un bebe que quiso hacerle de interlocutor infantil. Y en verdad es que habia algo de musica neonata en el ambiente. El llanto de aquel bebe ilustro lo que estaba teniendo lugar en lo alto de la escena, la confluencia de la tradicion mas solida con la innovacion ms donosa: un sonido para la esperanza.

Gran parte del placer sonoro de la noche vino de la mano de Morelenbaum, que traa las partituras todavia con la tinta fresca de los arreglos para la NDR, unos arreglos que haba propuesto Omar Sosa al brasileno al segundo de aceptar llevar a cabo el proyecto formulado a peticion del productor aleman Stefan Gerdes. Si hubiera que traer a la memoria alguna formacion que se acerque a la escritura de Morelenbaum, en lo alto de la lista estarian las formaciones extensas de Dizzy Gillespie, mas aqui la de la Big Band The New Continent arreglada por Lalo Schifrin que The United Nations Orchestra bajo el amparo de Paquito D’Rivera. Estas companias imaginadas no quisieran desmerecer el esfuerzo de la orquesta de Hamburgo, aunque en algunos momentos el espectador imaginara solistas mas enjundiosos para la musica de Sosa.

El pianista de Camaguey dejo mecer su arte con los arreglos cinematicos de Morelenbaum, aunque no se estuvo de trufar el discurso con ironias a la poderosisima literatura musical cubana o guinos tan reconocibles como Salt Peanuts. Danzones, tumbaos, chachachas, un repertorio de polirritmia volcanica que recupero sus races africanas gracias al bata y al recitado orisha de Marcos Ilukan. Sobresalieron los tiempos nocturnos de Ceremony, el solo de clarinete bajo en Carambab y los temas pensados para la divinidad Elegba, con quien Omar Sosa comparte la potestad de aduenarse de todas las puertas y caminos de este mundo.

Como el dios, tambien el pianista es depositario del Ache, que en lengua yoruba remite al poder divino, a la bendicion sincera. Quien viera la otra noche al pianista, tocado con un gorro aturbantado y una tunica labrada, todo el de blanco, podra imaginar sin esfuerzo de lo que hablo. El poder escenico que emana, la musculatura musical y la presencia totemica frente al piano de Sosa hacen de el una figura insoslayable del crisol artistico que salio de Cuba a conquistar el mundo. Ya puede decirse que el compositor de Ceremony ha hecho del Palau su bastion, pero esto solo es el principio. Con Sosa se completa el triangulo que, junto con Chucho Valdes y Gonzalo Rubalcaba, esta edicion del 42 Voll-Damm Festival Internacional de Jazz de Barcelona ha dedicado al pianismo cubano, con el anadido de un cuarto pianista mas joven, Ivan Melon Lewis. A pesar de que el exceso de iluminacion durante todo el concierto, las filmaciones cinematograficas tienen estos inconvenientes, no dejo espacios para mayor intimidad y diluyo a veces el protagonismo de lder, la ocasion mereca el despliegue tecnico que all se dejo ver. Si la fortuna, y la crisis, no son impedimento, cuando aparezca el DVD podra verse que merecio la pena. De momento, coreen como hizo el publico que lleno los tres pisos del Palau, esas dos slabas que convocan la gracia: A-Cheeeee.

New Omar Sosa Big Band CD “Ceremony”

We are pleased to announce the Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband CD “Ceremony”, set for worldwide release in February and March 2010.

NDR Bigband plays Omar Sosa
Arranged by Jaques Morelenbaum

Ceremony is a major new project, the fruit of pianist-composer Omar Sosas first big-band collaboration with composer-arranger-cellist Jaques Morelenbaum, Hamburgs 18piece NDR Bigband (North German Radio / Norddeutscher Rundfunk), and the Omar Sosa Quartet, featuring Julio Barreto (drums, Cuba), Childo Tomas (electric bass, Mozambique), and Marcos Ilukn (Afro-Cuban percussion, Cuba). Sosa himself plays piano and marimba.

Recorded in two sessions (2007 and 2008) at NDRs Hamburg studios, under the direction of Morelenbuam and Sosa, Ceremony features Morelenbaums brilliant arrangements of selections from Omars Spirit Of The Roots (1999), Bembn (2000), and Afreecanos (2009) CDstogether with two new Sosa offerings, Llegada Con Elegba (the introductory track) and Salida Con Elegba (the closing piece).

Rooted in the Quartets Afro-Cuban percussive traditions, Sosas finely textured compositions enable Morelenbaum to summon forth a broad palette of sounds, fully mobilizing the NDR Bigbands sonic potential and its brilliant soloists, while leaving ample space for Sosas own luminous improvisations.

Ceremony takes something of the structure of a sacred bat ceremony, invoking a panoply of Yoruba deities, while also delving into the Cuban son, danzn, and cha-cha-cha. Reflecting Sosas own spiritual grounding, Ceremony opens in sacramental veneration of Elegba, the divine messenger and guardian spirit, the all-powerful medium and diviner of human fate. Chang En Esmeraldas is an extended tribute to the deity of thunder and lightning, fire and moral retribution, and a reflection upon Sosas musical sojourn in the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Esmeraldas. Yemaya En Agua Larga honors the great mother and goddess of the sea, the moon, creation, and female mystery. In keeping with Yoruba tradition, Ceremony exits with a final ritual salutation to Elegba.

Ceremony acknowledges the majesty of the legendary Afro-Cuban big bands of Frank Machito Grillo, Chico OFarrill, and Dizzy Gillespie, while extending those revered traditions in a contemporary salute to the expansive universe of world jazz, wherein Sosa himself continues to reign as a joyous, generous, abundant, and essential creative spirit.

Ceremony grew out of a conversation with Hamburg producer Stefan Gerdes of NDR, who brokered the connection with Brazils Morelenbaum, who is much sought after as an arranger, reflecting his signal work with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Cesria Evora, and Mariza, among many others.

The NDR Bigband is an ensemble of accomplished soloists whose talents have been highlighted through the work of such noted arrangers as Steve Gray, Colin Towns, and Michael Gibbs. Over the years, the NDR Bigbands artistic collaborations have comprised a virtual Whos Who of world jazz: including Chet Baker, Paquito DRivera, Pee Wee Ellis, Joe Gallardo, Lionel Hampton, Dave Holland, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Maria Schneider, Wayne Shorter, Oscar Brown, Jr., Al Jarreau, and Bobby McFerrin.

Ceremony will have its international debut at NDR in Hamburg on March 1819, 2010, and at the Banlieues Bleues festival in Paris on March 17, 2010.

New CD, “Tales From The Earth” (OTA1020)

We are pleased to announce the release of the new Mark Weinstein-Omar Sosa CD, “Tales From The Earth”, on October 13, 2009. Available now on this website, and on iTunes.

Tales from the Earth. A thoroughly cosmopolitan outlook rooted in the rhythmic intensity and improvisatory, call-and-response spirit of Africa writ large. Artists of Cuban, Haitian, West African (Bnin, Ivory Coast), European, African American and Jewish American heritage, entering a Berlin studio for two days of intensive recording, without music or a predetermined conception, only a shared commitment to the communal, celebratory character that embodies the expressive riches of Mother Africa.

Flautist Mark Weinsteins groundbreaking Cuban Roots (1967) melded the influences of Mingus, Machito, Puente, Tjader, and Palmieri, carried forward into the present with his recent collaborations, Cuban Roots Revisited, Algo Ms, and now, Tales from the Earth. Weaving a musical lineage of a thousand strands, if Tales from the Earth recalls something of the creative spirit of MBoom, the inventive all-percussion octet founded by Max Roach in 1970, it captures the global ecumenical spirit of the present.

Accordingly, Tales from the Earth resounds with the Afro-Cuban traditions of Omar Sosabest known as a pianist and composer, but here primarily on marimba and vibraphone, which Sosa studied in Cubas conservatories before switching to piano. It features the eclectic guitar talents of Jean Paul Bourelly (Miles Davis, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Pharoah Sanders, Cassandra Wilson); the resonant balafon of Aly Keitas Ivory Coast; the insistent drum n bass sensibilities of Stockholm-based Marque Gilmore (Roy Ayers, Steve Coleman, Graham Haynes, Toumani Diabate, Vernon Reid, Joe Zawinul, MeShell Ndegeocello, Susheela Ramen, Nitin Sawhney, Talvin Singh); the vocal and percussive vitality of Aho Luc Nicaise and Mathias Agbokou; and the fresh, ever-surprising turns of phrase that each artist invests in this pioneering project.

Tales from the Earth weaves a musical narrative that can be read as a journey to the source of the human spiritwith all the playfulness, celebration, contemplation, historical awareness, compassion, reverence, and gratitude manifest in a life consciously lived.

Co-produced by Mark Weinstein, Omar Sosa, and Jean Paul Bourelly, Tales from the Earth embraces the radical challenge laid down by Monk long ago: Jazz is freedom, so I play music. If I ever play the same thing twice, Ill stop making music. This ensemble never plays the same thing twice, and Tales from the Earth expresses a revelatory message, deeply grounded in tradition, yet thoroughly contemporary and innovative in realization, an expression of human freedom, and a celebration of the Diaspora, alive in our times.

Release of “Aleatoric EFX”, Solo Piano

We are pleased to announce that our German record label partner, SKIP Records, has released Omar’s most recent solo piano recording, “Aleatoric EFX” (OTA1013).

Recorded live at Radio Bremen, Germany, in November 2003, “Aleatoric EFX” is Omar Sosas fourth solo piano recording. The CD combines Omars free, improvisatory approach to the piano, with his use of a number of electronic effects, also directed live from the piano during the performance. The result is an engaging, multi-dimensional musical experience, with elements of jazz, classical, new music, and electronica. The term ‘aleatoric’ refers to the chance or random ways in which the subtle electronic elements mesh with the performance both inside the piano and on the keyboard.

From the mysterious, ethereal beginnings of “Follow My Shadow”, with its bass string drone and yearning melodic figure, to the classical lyricism and haunting beauty of “Impromptu in D Minor”, the recording opens in a delicate, understated mood. “Mute Ostinato in C” continues Omars fascination with the bass drone, as in Indian classical music, combined with a series of lilting rhythmic figures, and unique use of the coco shells inside the piano on the strings. Throughout these opening improvisations, we see the influence of one of Omars classical music mentors, Erik Satie.

“Pentatonic Research” reveals some of Omars daring harmonic sense, built on a dialogue of Eastern-tinged, space-age motifs. This is followed by a version of Omars signature ballad, “Iyawo”, with its sweet, romantic melody, sliding, as it often does, into a subtle montuno groove. With “Sobre Un Manto en E Minor” and Siberian Horses, we continue to find ourselves traversing an aural landscape of longing, urgency and surrender.

Only toward the end of the recording, with Intense Moon in F# Minor and the rousing finale, “Muevete en D”, another of Omars signature compositions, does he take the energy to a dramatic level. For those who have enjoyed Omars previous solo piano outings, “Aleatoric EFX” is sure to be an enjoyable addition to the collection. For those who are new to this dimension of Omars musical sensibilities, it is sure to be a good place to start. For more information please visit www.skiprecords.com.

New Omar Sosa CD “Across The Divide”

New Omar Sosa CD: Across The Divide
Set for release March 24, 2009

On Half Note Records. For media inquiries, please contact Jonathan Kantor at 212-475-0049.

Recorded at the Blue Note jazz club in New York City, Across The Divide is a song cycle documenting the shared rhythms of Omar Sosa and Tim Eriksen, a New England multi-instrumentalist specializing in native and adopted American musics. The album is a narrative, a tale of musical and spiritual passage, melding and mingling seemingly disparate cultures yet highlighting the musical roots common to us all. Featured within are sampled readings from Langston Hughes, renowned giant of the Harlem Renaissance, whose words add lift to the musical journey.

Produced by Jeff Levenson

Featuring:

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, bata drums, congas, cajon, vocals

LINER NOTES:

Across The Divide began like a shooting star – a luminous certainty that two folkloric musicians, a Cuban pianist and a New England multi-instrumentalist specializing in native and adopted American musics, could trace the connections between seemingly disparate worlds of thought. What was not seen at the start, however, was the great drama unfolding before us, a backdrop for the making of this record – the ascendancy of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States.

His climb to power proved timely on so many levels – among them, the nation declaring its readiness to accept a leader of color at exactly the same moment we were birthing a song cycle highlighting the Middle Passage. From the castles of Ghana to the White House.

Moreover, the surround sound of the political machine filled the air with an unmusic soundtrack; the relentless drone and grind of the campaign lending contrast to the stirring uplift of our musical discoveries. Across the Divide had not anticipated any seismic social shifts, had not aimed at didacticism. Indeed, its mandate was more pleasure-driven, in the ways of art and entertainment.

The crystallizing element in assembling this narrative was rhythm, heard through a melding and mingling of cultures and manifesting the shared roots between Omar Sosa and Tim Eriksen. No surprise, really. During the forced migration of slaves, a practice that spanned centuries and fed the triangulated economies of Europe, Africa, and the Americas, indigenous musics and performance traditions entered New World ports, among them Havana and Chesapeake Bay. These strains of expression took root and became the basis for much popular culture.

Omar knows this in his bones. He is a global musician, attuned to the pulse of nature. His air of authority, of wisdom, is born from immersion in the musics of the world and a desire to propagate his folk heritage. Tim is a preservationist, uncovering songs dug deep in the soil and offering them as evidence of an exchange system distinctly American because of its cultural beginnings elsewhere. Theirs is a model marriage (one with rich historical roots), bearing offspring, new idioms, spiritually endowed.

The four vocals featured in Across The Divide are bound to the Eastern seaboard by tradition and development. “Promised Land,” a Welsh hymm dating from the mid-1700’s, first embraced as Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, is commonly heard in Baptist congregations of the American South. “Gabriel’s Trumpet” hails from Maine, where it was first cited in the mid-1800’s, introduced perhaps by sailors docking in the port town of Camden. “Sugar Baby Blues,” known among West Virginians and popularized by Dock Boggs in the early days of “hillbilly music,” was widely associated with the banjo, an instrument of African origin. And “Night Of The Four Songs” draws from the sacred music tradition of congregational singing, having passed through North Carolina many decades ago.

These songs are linked by Sosa’s instrumental odysseys, tales of ancestry: the dreams and realities of passage within and beyond Africa; meditations on the solstice and the natural order, the longest days, the seasons of life; reverence for Eleggua, the deity who determines fate and tests the will of man. Across The Divide is fueled by these crosswinds. Sosa is guided by the North Stars of spirituality, ritual, and the human condition.

So too, it seems, was the poet and novelist Langston Hughes, a seminal voice in the Harlem Renaissance, whose reading of “The Struggle” was sampled then woven into the narrative. His call for racial consciousness and self-determination (No man wanted to be a slave) is the literary counterweight to this musical oblation.

Which leads us to recognize the indomitable life force that faces unspeakable horrors yet somehow prevails a beacon penetrating the fog of oppression, its promise flooding across oceans, continents, centuries. Every now and then we’re reminded of that. Through a work of art or, less frequently, a presidential election.

-Jeff Levenson

New CD AFREECANOS

Afreecanos. Rooted in Africa. Omar Sosas new studio album brings together musicians from Africa, Cuba, Brazil, and France to celebrate the rich heritage of African music in jazz and Latin music. Mr. Sosas approach takes folkloric elements from Africa and the Americas, combines them with his Afro-Cuban roots, and brings them all forward into a contemporary jazz expression. For the first time since his arrangements on Spirit Of The Roots and Prietos, Mr. Sosa uses a horn section, and Afreecanos features a variety of traditional and modern flute sounds. The recording also features kora, ngoni, guitar-sitar, and a variety of folkloric percussion instruments, including bat, timbal, kongoman, mbira, and talking drum.

Featured on the recording are Cuban drummer Julio Barreto, Mozambican electric bassist Childo Tomas, Senegalese vocalist Mola Sylla, Cuban folkloric master Lzaro Galarraga, Cuban woodwind player Leandro Saint-Hill, French trumpet player Stphane Belmondo, and French multi-instrumentalist Christophe Disco Minck. Also featured are Cuban timbal master Orestes Vilato, Malian percussionist Baba Sissoko, Malian flute player Ali Wague, and Senegalese kora player Ali Boulo Santo, et al.

Mr. Sosa has taken Afro-Cuban musical forms, like the rumba, and arranged them for African musicians and African instruments releasing these forms from the traditional Afro-Cuban clave and opening them to innovative interpretations combining the fokloric with the contemporary, the ancestral with the urban. Throughout the album we hear folkloric elements infusing a modern jazz idiom, including spirit vocals and percussion from Africa, Cuba, and Brazil. The sound is lush and dream-like.

Afreecanos is produced by Paris-based drummer Steve Argelles, who also produced Mr. Sosas 2004 GRAMMY-nominated recording, Mulatos. Afreecanos was recorded at Fattoria Musica in Osnabrck, Germany, with additional recording in Paris and San Francisco. The recording is dedicated to the late Cuban percussion masters, Pancho Quinto and Ang Diaz.

For more information, press kit, video, or interview, please contact: afreecanos@melodia.com. Or visit www.melodia.com.

New “Live at FIPCD Release

Omar Sosa has released a number of live, solo piano recordings and a number of live, piano-percussion duo recordings over the years. With Live FIP, Omar offers his first live, ensemble CD, featuring a Quintet comprised of bass, drums, percussion and saxophone. Recorded at Radio France in Paris in front of a live, studio audience, Live FIP offers new interpretations of many of the compositions from Mr. Sosas 2006 GRAMMY-nominated CD, Mulatos, as well as a number of new pieces. FIP is an acronym for France Inter Paris, part of the Radio France broadcasting network.

Joining Mr. Sosa for the May 12, 2005 date, and recording together for the first time, are regular Sosa collaborators (the late) Ang Daz (Cuba) on percussion, Childo Tomas (Mozambique) on electric bass, and Luis Depestre (Cuba) on saxophones. Completing the ensemble is Paris-based drummer, Steve Argelles (UK), who produced the award-winning Mulatos (OTA1014) and the follow-up Mulatos Remix (OTA1016).

Compositions from Mulatos include Nuevo Manto and Dos Caminos, as well as the sweetly lilting Iyawo, and the haunting El Consenso. New material includes Mtisse and Paralelo, both part of Mr. Sosas current touring repertoire, and African Sunrise, featuring Childo Tomas African vocals and mbira (known as a thumb piano). Closing the recording is a rousing version of one of Mr. Sosas signature encores, Muevete En D, featuring Ang Daz on cajon (a wooden box drum).

Percussionist Ang Daz is renowned for his contributions with influential Cuban artists Irakere, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Rubn Gonzlez, and Cachato Lpez, as well as acclaimed U.S. trumpeter, Roy Hargrove. On Live FIP, we are treated to Angs artistry on congas, cajon and bongo. Childo Tomas recently made his U.S. performing debut, joining Mr. Sosa for shows at Yoshis in Oakland and the new Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club in Miami. He will also join Omar on tour in the U.S. at the beginning of October.

For more information, press kit, or interview, please contact fip@melodia.com or visit www.melodia.com.

International Songwriting Competition Finalist

Omar Sosa has just been named a finalist in the 2005 International
Songwriting Competition (Instrumental) for his composition “Mis Tres
Notas”. 1.4% of almost 15,000 entrants were selected as finalists.
Winners in 15 categories will be announced in March 2006. Judges include
Sonny Rollins, Macy Gray, Tom Waits, and John Scofield.

“Mis Tres Notas” first appeared on the Omar Sosa CD “Free Roots” (OTA1003),
and was recently re-released on the Omar Sosa compilation, “Ballads”
(OTA1015).

Songs of the finalists are eligible for the People’s Voice – an online
voting contest that allows the public to listen to all the finalists’ songs
and vote for their favorite. People’s Voice is separate from, and in
addition to, the winners selected by ISC’s panel of judges.

If you would like to review the 2006 ISC finalists and consider a vote
for “Mis Tres Notas”, please visit:

www.songwritingcompetition.com/pvwelcome_2005.htm.

Omar Sosa CDs are available at www.melodia.com.

BALLADS (OTA1015)

“Cuban pianist-composer-bandleader Omar Sosa describes this retrospective
of his early work as “ten themes of yesterday,” but his artistry has never
been anything but forward-looking. Evident throughout is the inspired
introspection that infuses Sosa’s work. “The spirits play through us,” he
says, a matter-of-fact observation borne out in his invocation of the Cuban
orishas who animate his live performances and recordings alike. The
individual virtuosity of the gifted talents he enlists is self-evident, but
the overall approach is understated, and resonant throughout is the
ensemble effect, an exquisite collective sound. Hear the expressive
lyricism of “Para Ella,” the muted orchestral breadth of “Gracias Senor,”
the serene ebb and flow of “Para Dos Parados,” the subtle montuno drive
of “Antes De Ir Va Esto,” the tender bolero of “Mis Tres Notas”. Sosa’s
faraway balladry is dappled with allusions to Frederic Chopin, Keith
Jarrett and Bill Evans, but the instrumental signature is purely his own”.

-Michael Stone, RootsWorld

New CD Release “Mulatos Remix” (OTA1016)

Following the success of his recent recording “Mulatos” (OTA1015), which
received a 2006 GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album, a 2006 BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music nomination, and which features the artistry of legendary Cuban reedman Paquito D’Rivera, Ot Records is pleased to
announce the release of an Omar Sosa remix album of material from the award-
winning CD. Entitled “Mulatos Remix” (OTA1016), the album features flesh
and funky contributions by Paris-based drummer/producer, Doctor L; Brooklyn-
based producer/remixer, DJ Spinna; live Drum & Bass pioneer/drummer, Marque
Gilmore; Paris-based drummer and producer, Steve Arguelles (who produced
the original CD, and whose remixes include some out-takes from the
original “Mulatos” sessions); and new to the Paris scene, DJ basephunk.

The dance-jazz vibe of these remixes features Omar Sosa piano and marimba
riffs, funky clarinet riffs, as well as new vocal and flute elements… all
enhanced by the cutting edge approaches of our guest remixers.

Release date in the U.S. is set for April 11, 2006.

Omar Sosa recordings are available at www.melodia.com, or on iTunes, and
are distributed in the U.S. by Harmonia Mundi.

Omar Sosa’s upcoming tour schedule includes (see www.melodia.com for
details):

January 26Beirut, Lebanon
February 2Agen, France
February 3Bagneres-de-Bigorre, France
February 6Prato, Italy
February 18Karratha, Australia
February 19Perth, Australia
February 20Perth, Australia
February 23Adelaide, Australia
February 24Sydney, Australia
February 25Melbourne, Australia
February 26Sydney, Australia
March 9Rome, Italy
March 10Francheville, France
March 11Bagneux, France
March 14Valenciennes, France
March 17Dijon, France
March 21Zurich, Switzerland
March 22Grenoble, France
March 23Blois, France
March 25Cully, Switzerland
March 28Le Harve, France
March 29Amiens, France
March 31Cape Town, South Africa
April 1Cape Town, South Africa
April 6Paris (Bondy), France

U.S. West Coast Tour:

April 19Santa Clara University, CA
April 20Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA
April 21Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA
April 22Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA
April 23Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA
April 24Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA
April 28The Triple Door, Seattle, WA
April 29Temple Bar, Los Angeles, CA

For details, and for further concert dates, please visit www.melodia.com.

Omar Sosa GRAMMY Nomination

We are pleased to announce that Omar Sosa has just received a GRAMMY nomination for “Mulatos” (OTA1014) in the Best Latin Jazz Album category
from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

The GRAMMY Awards will be held on Wednesday, February 8 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and broadcast live on CBS from 8:00 PM to 11:30 PM (ET/PT).

Omar Sosa Octet on NPR’s JazzSet

Omar Sosa Octet
Live broadcast on NPR’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Thursday, December 1 at 9:00 PM Pacific Time (a one-hour broadcast)
KCSM 91.1 Radio FM (San Francisco Bay Area)

For audio streaming, please visit:

http://www.kcsm.org/fm_listen.html

Also, Comcast Digital Cable is now carrying KCSM FM Jazz 91 on Channel 962. Contact your local Comcast Customer Service Center for more information.

On September 12, 2003, the Omar Sosa Octet performed at the opening of Carnegie Hall’s new Zankel Hall. The program was curated by renowned composer John Adams, newly appointed to The Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall, a post previously held by Pierre Boulez.

The Omar Sosa Octet performance was recorded by WBGO for NPR’s Jazz Set with Dee Dee Bridgewater, and features the following players:

Omar Sosa (Cuba), piano
Martha Galarraga (Cuba), vocals, clave
Gustavo Ovalles (Venezuela), percussion
Luis Depestre (Cuba), saxophones
Geoff Brennan (U.S.A.), acoustic bass
Josh Jones (U.S.A.), drums
Yassir Chadly (Morocco), vocals
Brutha Los (U.S.A.), vocals

A rare opportunity to hear Omar Sosa with many of the players that formed the basis of his CD release “Prietos” (OTA1008) in 2001.

For more information, please email zankel@melodia.com or visit www.melodia.com

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