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Omar Sosa
Real Live: The New AfroCuban Quartet Live in Japan

Omar Sosa
Senses: Solo Piano
Both titles from Otá (

The New AfroCuban Quartet convenes Omar Sosa's Camagüey homeboys Leandro Saint-Hill (flute, alto and soprano sax, percussion, lead vocals) and Ernesto Simpson (drums), along with longtime Mozambican collaborator Childo Tomas (electric bass, vocals)—all enormously talented artists. Real Live (recorded at Yokohama's Motion Blue on September 18, 2013) and the Quartet's tour appearance at Princeton's McCarter Theater in April 2014 together reveal the tightest, most evocative ensemble the Cuban pianist-composer has ever assembled.

"Ollu" (excerpt from Live)

Regarding Real Live, Sosa reflects, “There are concerts where you feel so good, you never want to forget.” Indeed, no one knows better than the artist himself. Real Live is as close as one can get to the transcendent quality of an Omar Sosa performance. Those familiar with Sosa's work will recognize his memorable compositions, but will also perceive something new and compelling in every rendition.

"Toridanzon" (excerpt from Live)

Sosa is also a singular solo performer. Recorded in February 2012 at the Experimental Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, Senses presents 16 piano improvisations resulting from his work with Zimbabwean choreographer Nora Chipaumire to score her dance-theater piece Miriam (after South African singer Miriam Makeba), which debuted, with Sosa on keyboards, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in September 2012.

"Humility" (excerpt from Senses)

Sosa is a listener at heart, and a scintillating one. His extraordinary musical journey has led from Cuba to Ecuador's African-descent communities, the Bay Area Latin jazz scene, and his engagement with artists from Cuba, Brazil, North America, Spain, France, and North, East and West African nations. He possesses an uncanny capacity to bring the most diverse traditions into fruitful juxtaposition, moving through and far beyond his influences, from the Cuban folkloric to the European classical. A singular cosmopolitan voice, Sosa embodies a visionary artistry in the uncompromising spirit of Thelonious Monk. As Sosa told me years ago, “Monk said, 'Jazz is freedom, so I play music. If I ever play the same thing twice, I'll stop making music.'” Indeed, Sosa is an artist who never repeats himself, and every recital embodies the liberating spirit of artistic revelation beyond category. - Michael Stone


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