Position:Pianista cubano - TA: Cuban pianist

Spirit of the Roots


While not totally free in the sense of all out improvisational abandon, what I like about Cuban pianist Omar Sosa is his refusal to be fenced in. On this fourth outing, he presents an impressionistic audio-offering to the Orishas of the Yoruban pantheon that intertwines his Afro-Cuban roots with a hard bop acid jazz edge and a multi-textured collage of rap, bilingual spoken word, rumberos y soneros, and Ecuadorian indigenous marimbas.

The thirteen selections that make up Spirit of the Roots represent a creative milestone for Sosa. Not only is he in fine technical shape as far as chops go but his compositional ideas are vibrantly creative. Angular rhythmic and harmonic twists and turns peel off horn-driven soundscapes that bridge to superb solos and conversations.

Eleggua opens the way as children laugh and batá drums sound. There's an innocence projected that leads to La Tela Pa' Oya, a theme to the goddess of the wind and rainbows, Oya Yansa. With a...

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