Since he emigrated from Cuba in 1993, Omar Sosa has forged a distinctive musical path, fusing an array of jazz, world music, hip-hop, and electronic elements with his Afro-Cuban roots. Omar’s newest recording, ilé, marks a homecoming for the 7-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer to the Latin Jazz influences of his formative years in late ‘80s and early ‘90s Havana. During this period, Omar savored the music of Pancho Quinto, Lázaro Ros, Rubén González, Machito, Benny Moré, Arsenio, Cachao, Lili Martinez, Peruchin, Chucho Valdés, and Irakere. Ilé means home, or earth, in the Lucumí tradition of Cuba, derived from the Yoruba language of West Africa, and it is to the Latin Jazz roots of his native Cuba that Omar returns for inspiration on this new studio recording.
Joining him on the project are three seasoned musicians with whom Omar shares a close connection: fellow Camagüeyanos, Ernesto Simpson on drums, and Leandro Saint-Hill on alto saxophone, flute and clarinet, and Mozambican electric bassist Childo Tomas – collectively known as Quarteto AfroCubano. These musicians speak the same musical language, using their Cuban and African traditions as a springboard for creative freedom.
Special guests on the recording include Cuban percussionist Pedro Martinez, American guitarist Marvin Sewell, Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry, and maestro Eladio “Don Pancho” Terry, patriarch of the Terry family, on chekere. Featured on vocals is spoken word artist Kokayi. And, reflecting the influence of his extended residency in Barcelona, Omar showcases flamenco vocalist José “El Salao” Martín on several tracks, including a version of renowned Cuban trova composer Sindo Garay’s La Tarde.
Ilé offers contemporary interpretations of some of the classic Cuban musical styles the world has come to admire. Listeners will enjoy a mix of ballads and sophisticated mid and up tempo arrangements. Also included is a set of four atmospheric interludes, featuring traditional music samples combined with improvised piano and soprano saxophone accompaniment.
Overall, the compositional focus of the project is on ensemble playing. A noteworthy dimension is Omar’s use of the Fender Rhodes electric piano in equal measure with the acoustic grand piano.
Avishai Cohen & Abraham Rodríguez Jr: Iroko
In Conversation with Ángel “Papote” Alvarado: Desde Ponce a Nueva York
Gerry López: No Way Back
Pianist, Composer Olivia Pérez-Collellmir Releases Debut Album: “Olivia”
Jorge Luis Pacheco: The Lockdown Album
De Ponce A Nueva York: Ángel “Papote” Alvarado y el Grupo Esencia
Vistel Brothers: Fiesta en el Batey
Christmas Classic “Asalto Navideño Vol. II” Gets New Vinyl Reissue
Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band: Vox Humana
Arturo O’Farrill, Omar Sosa and Etienne Charles Bring Latin Jazz to the DC JazzFest
Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal Present “They Shot the Piano Player” at TIFF 2023
The Latin Side of Jazz · Episode 33
Juan García-Herreros – The Snow Owl: Normas
Raphael Cruz Reaffirms His Commitment To Latin Jazz!
Edy Martínez, the Music Architect Behind the Piano
Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta · Son de Panamá
Celebrating Emiliano Salvador and his Musical Legacy
Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: A Memorable Night in Toronto with Poncho Sánchez
A Conversation with Percussionist, Bandleader Poncho Sanchez
The Odyssey of Anat Cohen
Paquito D’Rivera & Quinteto Cimarrón: Aires Tropicales
Have You Seen My Nana? The Enduring Genius of Moacir Santos
Enrique Rodríguez: Enriquito – Me Quito El Sombrero
Roberto López Afro-Colombian Jazz Orchestra: Azul
Most Read in 2023
Featured Albums7 months ago
Aymée Nuviola feat. Kemuel Roig: Havana Nocturne
News9 months ago
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”
Album Reviews9 months ago
Ella & The Bossa Beat: In the Moment
News8 months ago
Wilson “Chembo” Corniel Releases New Album: “Artistas, Músicos y Poetas”