“Modern Urban Music with a Latin Jazz Heart ”

“Omar Sosa will be ranked among the great
wizards of the keyboard, like Chick Corea.”
-North Sea Jazz Festival, 1999

Like his CDs Free Roots (OTA1003) and Spirit of the Roots (OTA1005), Omar Sosa’s new large-ensemble recording Bembon is an amazing mixture of Cuban, jazz, spoken word, and world music elements. Omar’s is a World Jazz vision, gracefully weaving a tapestry of musical threads from Afro-Ecuadorian, Afro-Cuban and Afro-American traditions. His subtle fusion of rhythms, harmonies, voices, and instruments is an exploration of Latin jazz beyond its traditional Cubop expressions.

Bembon is a word commonly used in the Afro-cultures of the Americas to describe a person with thick lips. With courage and affection, Omar takes the term as the title of his new CD to symbolize the common African roots of black music and culture in the Americas. Throughout this new recording we hear Omar’s genius as an arranger and his extraordinary inspiration at the piano.

Bembon was recorded and mixed in Quito, Ecuador during the summer of 1999. It features musical themes from the Esmeraldas region of Ecuador, the Lucumi culture of Cuba, and from black American R&B and hip-hop forms. For the first time, Omar uses a classical string quartet to enhance the subtlety of his arrangements. Bembon features contributions from Cuban percussion masters Orestes Vilato and Pancho Quinto, and from Ecuador’s Papa Roncon.