Omar Sosa 


Omar Sosa's background as a percussionist helps explain why he's known for occasionally bludgeoning the piano and incorporating such a diverse rhythm section into his many ensembles. His new album Afreecanos — a ratcheting-up of 2004's Mulatos, which recast standards by George Gershwin and Thelonious Monk in an Afro-Latin vein — employs no less than a dozen percussion instruments, including such far-flung things as piano drum, zabar, dun dun, talking drum, rumpi, agogo, timbales, batá, and kongoman. Whereas Mulatos came off as imaginative and self-consciously hip, Afreecanos tries to connect that futuristic worldbeat sound back to its original source.

In many senses, it's actually a folk album. Sosa stays true to his raison d'être of showing that all music is interconnected, combining rootsy forms from Africa, Cuba, and Brazil with blues changes and post-bop horn stylings. Opener "Prologo" features a battery of drums so intricately arranged, it's like hearing the splatter of each individual raindrop. "Tres Negros" comprises several different groove sections, starting with a driving, syncopated rhythm and turning into boppy Afrobeat tune you might find on a Hugh Masekela album. "Nene La Kanou," which begins with a profusely textured string section that tapers off to make room for Sosa's piano solo, is neck-and-neck with the mournful "Why Angá?" for the most beautiful tune on the album. Concept-driven rather than chops-driven, Afreecanos shows Sosa stepping back from the traditional jazz template, and pushing the "world stage" element to the fore. (Otá)


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in CD Reviews

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Taste, Fall 2016

Everything you need to know about dining in and out in the East Bay.

The Queer & Trans Issue 2016

Queer and trans coverage contributed by individuals who identify as queer or trans.

© 2016 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation