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Ballads

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Album Review

Omar Sosa has gained fame for his stirring piano solos, his mastery of polyrhythms, and his willingness to add rap and hip-hop to his Afro-Cuban jazz music. Ballads is quite a bit different. Drawn from four of his CDs (Free Roots, Spirit of the Roots, Bembon, and Prietos), the previously released music is all taken at slow tempos. Most of the ten numbers are moody, a bit introspective, and thoughtful, although there is some heat to be experienced on a few performances. The personnel and instrumentation change from cut to cut, with Sheldon Brown's reeds (particularly on bass clarinet) being a major asset, María Márquez contributing a haunting vocal on "Fragile," and two strings being utilized on a pair of numbers. Throughout, Sosa sounds restrained but powerful, very much in control of this lyrical music. Although it only shows one side of him, Ballads serves as a solid introduction to Omar Sosa.

Biography

Born: 10 April 1965 in Camagüey, Cuba

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Cuban-born multi-instrumentalist Omar Sosa is a prolific, much lauded performer known for his genre-bending recordings fusing Latin jazz, African traditions, avant-garde improvisation, classical music, and more. Born on April 10, 1965 in Camaguey, Cuba, Sosa began studying music at age five while attending the Escuela Provincial de Musica in Camaguey. This led to his intense study of drums and percussion at two other schools during the late '70s and early '80s: Cuba's Escuela Nacional de Musica and...
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Ballads, Omar Sosa
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