Oscar Peñas – From Now On

Oscar Peñas - From Now On
BUY THIS ALBUM ON AMAZON.COM

If music could be transformed into a visual canvas every time it was heard then the music of Oscar Peñas would turn into a flowing water colour that was constantly evolving as it bubbled and gushed, or trickled and traipsed across its own imaginary topographical ocean. Reflecting the myriad colours and shades of daylight and the every multiplying colours and shades of the crepuscular hours, Peñas’ music is ever-changing as it courses on its canvas in a constant state of energy that is at once gentle and calm as well as propulsive and pulsating. As a composer therefore Peñas must have a mind that never sleeps. His soul also appears to be darting everywhere it can find space and with a curiosity that is singular, it rushes out to find every nook and cranny where melody can be heard, dancing there and adding harmony to this melody. Such is the spritely nature of this guitarist and musician that following his musical journey—especially on his album From Now On —is like pursuing a sort of musical Holy Grail.

It is not that this music is elusive, rather that it is full of adventure like the proverbial tale of reaching out for that mystical chalice. Happiness abounds in Peñas’ music as does a mesmerising geometry that flavours the melodic sojourns that his music embarks on. With decidedly singular tuning of his guitar, Peñas forges unique relationships with the other instruments performing his repertoire. This is fascinating to behold and it sounds as magical as ever in the dervish-like murmuring of Gil Goldstein’s accordion that swathes the nylon strings of Peñas’ guitar on the majestic stretches that meander across verse after verse of “From Now On” and on the moving portrait, “Julia”. Moreover as most individualists almost always find a snug bedfellow in one other musician in the band, Peñas has developed this special relationship with his bassist, Moto Fukushima. The ornate excursions that the bassist takes at Peñas’ urging on “Continuum” and on “Samuel Smith”—as well as on “Encuentro,” and on a few of the other remaining tracks—are truly special. This is also reminiscent of the special telepathy that seemed to exist between John Coltrane and Elvin Jones, as well as Charles Mingus and Dannie Richmond, between Thelonious Monk and Charlie Rouse.

However this is only some of the beauty of Oscar Peñas album. Much of its rarity comes from the molten mix of steamy idioms: flamenco and jazz; and add to this a seminal mixture of a magic potion of Latin American dialects, from the aching beauty of Brazilian Choro to the dreamy swirl of Cuban Habanera and a host of other musical tongues. In this respect Oscar Peñas is truly a guitarist who is well-travelled musically, but who has also imbued the delightful foreign musical tongues, but who has also learned to live and dream in them. This is rare talent indeed, which is something to be cherished about this fine guitarist and musician.

Tracks: Continuum; Choro, No. 1 (Guinga); From Now On; Samuel Smith; Encuentro; Choro, No. 2 (Corpo); Julia; Adéu.

Personnel: Oscar Peñas: nylon string guitar, electric guitar; Dan Blake: tenor and soprano saxophones; Moto Fukushima: six string electric bass; Richie Barshay: drums, percussion, pandeiro; Gil Goldstein: accordion (3, 7), piano (4); Franco Pinna: bombo legüero (3).

Released – 2011
Label – BJUR Records
Runtime – 47:10

Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author

Related posts

Promotion

Featured Posts

Frank Emilio Flynn · Amor & Piano

The name of the great Cuban composer and pianist Frank Emilio Flynn bears similarities to that of the Brasilian composer and saxophonist Moacir...

Black Atlantic · Ballaké Sissoko & Jane Bunnett & Maqueque

I almost didn’t log into Vimeo at 8 o’clock on Saturday night, March the 27th. It’s not that the programme wasn’t beckoning enough. After...

Mansfarroll · Dizzy el Afrocubano · Homenaje a Dizzy Gillespie

Celebrar a Dizzy Gillespie - el legendario trompetista y hermano gemelo en creatividad del gran Charlie Parker - no es infrecuente, especialmente entre...

Héctor Quintana · Benny Moré Un Siglo Después

En enero del año pasado, 2020, tuve la oportunidad de viajar a La Habana con mi colega, el reconocido escritor y cronista cultural Raul...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

El Gran Fellové: Part 1- The Beginning

Francisco Fellové Valdés (October 7, 1923 – February 15, 2013), also known as El Gran Fellové (The Great Fellove), was a Cuban songwriter and...

Talking Sensorial with Mafalda Minnozzi

Earlier this year – in July to be precise – I critiqued an amazing recording by Mafalda Minnozzi. The album was entitled Sensorial, a...

Tony Succar: Percussionist with a Big Bang Theory

Tony Succar could have been a professional sportsman – a football player to be precise. Two things kept the Peruvian-American from making his...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more