Omar Sosa Releases CD “Mulatos”
New Omar Sosa CD, “Mulatos” (OTA1014), featuring special guest Paquito D’Rivera, produced by Steve Arguelles
Set for release in the United States on October 12, 2004, distributed by Harmonia Mundi USA (www.harmoniamundi.com), and concurrently worldwide (please see www.melodia.com/dist.php for worldwide distribution)
Also available at www.melodia.com/order.php
How to be true to a music tradition and be part of the world at large? To be a modern artist (and consequently a traveler), without dismissing your roots? Omar Sosa searches out new sounds for a music that is simultaneously his own, and part of an Afro-Cuban culture. Mulatos is a fitting description for the kind of approach Omar is adopting – a mix of Cuban music that dances with rhythmic inspirations of Indian tabla, jazz drums, and studio mixing. Listening to the voices of the Arabic lute, the oud, a fore runner of the Cuban tres, and European clarinet melodies reminding him of Paquito D’Rivera and the repertoire of the great Cuban masters, Omar Sosa’s unique way of imagining how this can fit together and making the leap to realize the recording of it, is what makes him stand out as a very modern musician – an inventive and courageous artist.
The album Mulatos features the highly individual talents of Dhafer Youssef (oud), Steve Arguelles (drums, electronics), Dieter Ilg (double bass), Philippe Foch (tabla), and Renaud Pion (clarinets). With the exception of Omar Sosa, the relation to Cuban music for these musicians is somewhat removed, though respectful and engaging. Omar’s extraordinary abilities as a composer, pianist, marimba percussionist (new here to many of his followers) and his authoritative leadership threads this together beautifully to create a major development for a Cuban jazz artist.
Joining the project as special guest on clarinet for three compositions, someone whose artistry Omar has admired for many, many years – Paquito D’Rivera (tracks 1, 2, 6).
Producer Steve Arguelles remarks, “It’s an album that is tightly constructed, like movie editing in the sense that the clarity of musical ideas are presented to maximum effect, be it a simple melody, a curious rhythm, or an electronic touch here and there. It remains rich, too, in the way that a favorite record is what you keep returning to, an important objective of ours. It tells a story about Omar’s relation to jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms and spirituality, the piano, and a freely expressive mind”.
For more information, or to order “Mulatos”, please visit www.melodia.com.
“Omar Sosa commands an enormous range of styles and timbres; from modal McCoy Tyner-like vamps to Cuban clave; from abstract playing both inside and outside the grand piano; to simple melodic fragments to advanced jazz harmony. It’s the ingenuity of his approach rather than particular claves or tunes that makes Sosa a distinctively Cuban creative musician. Sosa’s most recent CD, “Mulatos”, produced by drummer Steve Arguelles, has many nice moments: Renaud Pion’s dark-hued bass clarinet on the groove of “La Tra”; Dhafer Youssef’s oud on the languorous “Reposo” and “El Consenso”; Paquito D’Rivera’s soaring clarinet on the Middle-Eastern nu-jazz of “Dos Caminos”. Sosa dedicates the infectious “L3zero” to Arsenio Rodriguez and Thelonious Monk, and it’s on this penultimate track that you get a taste of what Sosa might do one day to reinvent Cuban music for the new century”.
-John L. Walters, The Guardian (London), September 17, 2004
“Omar Sosa’s very personal embrace of African and Diasporan rhythms and improvisation has added a great deal to the vocabulary of Latin music. Mulatos is another addition to an ever-expanding musical mosaic that Sosa is passionately crafting. His aesthetic is unremittingly hybrid; it’s pluralistic and impure in the most positive sense. Mulatos is an artistic and cultural statement that reinforces this worldview. There is something in the way Sosa writes and improvises that retains a tremendously communicative energy. The combination of both drive and delicacy in his single note runs and the clever harmonic progressions are hallmarks of an artist to be reckoned with”.
-Kevin LeGendre, Echoes (U.K.), October 2004
“Omar Sosa is on a musical quest, a voyage of sonic discovery that traverses the globe in search of a fusionistic Holy Grail. With Mulatos, holding firm to his Latin roots, the GRAMMY nominee and visionary creates a sound not unlike that of other great Cuban masters. No need to be deceived by Sosa’s open minded aesthetic: for all its space, simplicity and free form delicacy, Mulatos is a tightly-constructed piece of work, meticulous in ideas and execution. As composer, bandleader and jazz disciple – Thelonious Monk’s expressive legacy is palpable – Sosa manages to create a glorious, often refreshing whole from various empatico parts. A highly recommended effort from an artist who just keeps getting better”.
-Jane Cornwell, Jazzwise (U.K.), October 2004