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Omar Sosa Afreecanos Quartet featuring Cuban saxophonist Leandro Saint-Hill at NJPAC Oct 29
(Published: September 16, 2011)

JazzCorner.com roster musician five-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa returns to NJPAC with his unique style of Afro-Cuban jazz on Saturday, October 29, 2011. Omar Sosa continues to explore the African roots of traditional musics throughout the Diaspora, using modern jazz harmonies and the latest audio technology. Sosa's Afreecanos ensemble features drum-&-bass pioneer Marque Gilmore, Mozambican electric bassist Childo Tomas, and noted Cuban saxophonist Leandro Saint-Hill, all traveling from Europe for this performance. The ensemble fuses the folkloric with the contemporary, the ancestral with the urban - all with a Latin jazz heart. Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune has commented that "Cuban pianists often tower over their peers. But within this elite class of pianists, few have been more stylistically adventurous than Omar Sosa. Though deeply schooled in jazz improvisation techniques, Sosa has always pushed beyond jazz orthodoxy. His art encompasses a remarkable range of influences: European symphonic repertoire, religious music of Gnawa, traditional sounds of Senegal and other far-flung idioms have coursed through his work. All of which piques one's interest in his ensemble, Afreecanos Quartet."

Drummer Marque Gilmore is a founding member of New York City's Black Rock Coalition, and pioneer of the New York and London live drum-&-bass scenes. He has worked with an international array of artists, including Joe Zawinul, Steve Coleman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and innovative musician-historian Cheick Tidiane Seck. Marque is acclaimed for his multimedia performance project, DRUM-FM, and his recent remixes of tracks from Omar Sosa's CD Mulatos are featured on the Mulatos Remix CD.

Like Mr. Sosa, Leandro Saint-Hill was born in Camagüey, Cuba. He began his studies at age eleven, and after graduating from the music school in Camagüey, moved to Havana and played with Tanja, Beatriz Marquez, Carlos Maza, and salsa star Manolin. In 1994 his moved to Hamburg, Germany, and has played with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Hilton Ruiz, and Chico Freeman. Leandro is featured on the 2010 GRAMMY-nominated Omar Sosa CD, Across The Divide.

In addition to electric bass, Childo Tomas sings in his native Mozambican language of Ronga, and plays m'bira.

New Omar Sosa solo piano CD, Calma (released March 2011):

Calma is Omar Sosa's fifth solo piano recording, a work of singular artistry, featuring Omar's unique approach to the genre. In September 2011, it received a Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Instrumental Album. 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. It's 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.

Omar's unorthodox harmonic sensibilities are evident throughout Calma. We hear surprising harmonic turns, with sonorities blending and resolving in unpredictable ways. And Omar's 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. And melodically, the thematic material on Calma is quiet and restrained. We can imagine the melodic sensibilities of Erik Satie meeting those of Pierre Boulez.

Saturday, October 29, 2011
7:30 PM, followed by Jerry Gonzalez & the Fort Apache Band
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Victoria Theater, Newark, NJ

Admission $39.00
For tickets and information, please visit www.njpac.org or call 888-466-5722

More Information: http://melodia.com

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