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5000 miles and the Atlantic Ocean separate Sardinia and
Cuba, birth places of Paolo Fresu and Omar Sosa. Yet these two improvisers and
genius composers found a way to eliminate the distance to form an unusual
duo. Their latest album Alma celebrates this new collaboration between six-time
Grammy-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa and celebrated Italian
trumpet and flugelhorn player Paolo Fresu.
Listen to Omar Sosa on WNYC's Soundcheck with John Schaefer (Jan 25, 2013)
Born in 1965 in Camagüey, Cuba's largest inland city, Omar Sosa began his musical study at age eight, studying percussion and marimba before taking up piano as a teenage student at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música in Havana. Amassing a unique alchemy of influences that includes traditional Afro-Cuban music, European classical composers (including Chopin, Bartok, and Satie), Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Chucho Valdés, and the pioneering Cuban jazz group Irakere, he ultimately relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995, where he was soon invigorating the Latin jazz scene with his adventurous writing and percussive style.
Annually performing upwards of 100 concerts on six
continents, Sosa has appeared in venues as diverse as the Blue Note, Carnegie
Hall's Zankel Hall, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago's Museum of
Contemporary Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and numerous notable jazz
festivals across the globe. He's garnered several Grammy nominations and has
released a string of well-regarded solo albums in the last decade, in addition
to his work with Fresu.
Listen to Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu on WBGO's The Checkout with Josh Jackson (January 30, 2013)
Boasting a style that combines Miles Davis's penchant for melodic understatement with a taste for pushing boundaries, Paolo Fresu spent much of the '80s maturing into a major force on the Italian jazz scene. His popularity soon expanded to broader Europe, where he's a regular on the club and festival circuit. In addition to extensive work with his own groups and with Sosa, he's also collaborated with icons like Carla Bley and Ralph Towner. Among the latest additions to his vast discography are two releases on the ECM label, Chiaroscuro (2010) and Mistico Mediterraneo (2011).