Omar Sosa   


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Omar at the San Mateo Jazz Festival "Cuban-born pianist Omar Sosa has been in the San Francisco area for only a few months, but he's already wowed those who have heard his infectious brand of Afro-Cuban jazz."   --S.F. Examiner & Chronicle

"Sosa is a monster keyboardist who sounds like a seventies Herbie Hancock. He has an expressive fluidity that kept the shoulder to shoulder SRO crowd at the Elbo Room riveted."   --Latin Beat

"Cuban sensation Omar Sosa has made a splash as one of the most spirited and inspired keyboardists on the San Francisco circuit and beyond."
            --Left Coast JazzFest

"Marvelous pianist Omar Sosa is the only man I've ever seen who can play the keyboard as fast and effectively as the late Bobby Enriques."    --Honolulu Star-Bulletin

In the early '90s, Omar Sosa, a talented Cuban pianist, experimented with rapper Ofill, fusing Havana hip hop with jazz. Borrowing influential flavors from Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, they scored with an electrified music video, The Cha Cha Chaplin Boys. In this collage of fast-framed and bizarre colored flashes, Sosa slammed full acid-jazzy chords over sensuously charged scenes that ended with a slap in the face. The 32-year-old relocated to Ecuador soon afterward, where he was awarded for his innovative work; and for over a year, he's been blowing away the Bay Area acid and AfroCuban jazz scenes. On this solo piano debut (Omar Omar), we get a glimpse of a mature musician with extraordinary creative impulses. Sosa's impressionistic musings (emotional flurries, dissonance, offbeat punctuation) and technical abilities are superb, rooted in both classical and jazz techniques - but it's his style, teetering on the brink of dissonance and never landing on the first beat, that makes you realize this cat has something to say. The 14 original works unfold with Remember The Clave, which aptly demonstrates the fundamental two-bar pulse of AfroCuban music. As Sosa slowly stretches the piece open, he draws you into his space with oblique melodic lines and a hypnotic vamp that subconsciously tugs at you throughout Clave. The calypso-tinged waltz Muevete In D is a contrapuntal masterpiece with a bright, full, two-fisted sound that has both hands working separately, but in sync. Moody soundscapes blow with intimate cool, while Cha Cha Du Nord, dedicated to the Market Street nightspot, is a playful twist on Thelonious Monk. From start to finish, Sosa weaves a spontaneous thread like a Fellini movie. Unconventional melodic metaphors fall in place, and just when you're about to turn away, something new catches you. With a nice smile and clear eyes, Sosa's the next big thing on the Latin scene.

--Chuy Varela,
San Francisco Weekly

--Latin Beat

This talented Cuban pianist has been in the Bay Area for a couple of years and is an important emerging voice not only on the contemporary AfroCuban jazz scene but with acid jazzers as well. On this debut he presents challenging originals that demonstrate ingenious sparks of talent. Muevete In D is a snappy, "caribe" tinged waltz that takes advantage of the full range of the instrument and sounds comfortable. Like Monk, he says a lot in a little. There's moody impressionistic soundscapes like Breezes and Campos Verdes. The Monkish Cha Cha Du Nord is a playful cruise of pianistic variation that's dedicated to a happening San Francisco nightspot. For absolute passion, check Toriteson. Feel how hard he plays. Throughout there are plenty of "montunos" and progressive harmonic diversions. Earlier this year he collaborated with conguero Jesús Diaz on the group QBA, currently featured on Ritmo Y Candela II with Patato, and word has it he tore it up backing vocalist Candy Sosa at the San Francisco Jazz Festival. A talent to contend with, this is an excellent start.

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