Omar Sosa is one of the most versatile jazz artists on the scene today: composer, arranger, producer, pianist, percussionist, and bandleader. He fuses a wide range of world music and electronic elements with his native Afro-Cuban roots to create a fresh and original urban sound – all with a Latin jazz heart. On stage, Mr. Sosa is a charismatic figure, inspiring his fellow musicians with his dynamic playing and improvisational approach to the music – an approach full of raw emotional power and humor. Mr. Sosa invariably inspires audiences to their feet and to join him in chorus vocals, heightening the sense of spontaneity and connection. Exemplifying Duke Ellington’s highest accolade as a creator of music beyond category—manifest in some 20 recordings as a leader—Omar Sosa is a planetary musician in the most all-embracing connotation of world music. Sonic curiosity, a generous musical spirit, a commitment to the ensemble as the fundamental creative mode, and an openness to new sounds and their unusual combination, animate all that Omar does. Omar’s search for musical freedom transcends orthodoxy, as an artist who exemplifies Monk’s determination never to play the same thing twice. He crafts a stylistically unique yet thoroughly contemporary global jazz idiom that celebrates the diversity of voices in the music of the Americas and far beyond.
Yet Omar always cultivates an intimate sense of connection with his own Afro-Cuban roots. In October 2018, Omar and violinist-vocalist Yilian Cañizares released Aguas, a very beautiful and personal album. The material on Aguas is an inventive and engaging mix of the artists’ Afro-Cuban roots, Western classical music, and jazz. The album is dedicated to Water, and especially to Oshun, the Goddess of Love and Mistress of Rivers in the Lucumí tradition of Yoruba ancestry known in Cuba as Santería – a spiritual practice important to both artists.
“Africa and the Diaspora represent an unequaled musical source. I have tried to express the continent’s melodic contour, and its great rhythmic strength. Rhythm connects every people with the supreme Spirit. Every land has ways of calling the Spirits, to pull people together. Philosophically, through jazz—perhaps the Diaspora’s freest genre—we have sought to combine the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa in an expression of freedom, a celebration of the Diaspora, alive in our times.” Omar Sosa