Versatile jazz artist Omar Sosa comes to the Overture Center

Overture Center for the Arts and the Sessions at McPike Park presents Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, one of the most versatile jazz artists on the scene today, and his Quarteto Americanos on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theater. Tickets ($25 to $45) are available at overture.org.

Seven-time GRAMMY-nominated composer, pianist and conductor Omar Sosa’s musical trajectory took him from Camagüey and Havana to tours of Angola, Congo, Ethiopia and Nicaragua in the 1980s, to a stay in the Afro-descendant communities of Ecuador in the early 1990s, to an extensive presence in the San Francisco Bay Area Latin jazz scene, to his current engagement with artists from Spain, France , Brazil, Cuba, the United States and many African countries. Sosa fuses a wide range of jazz, 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.

For his Overture performance, Sosa brings his new Quarteto Americanos, featuring Bay Area artists Josh Jones on drums, Sheldon Brown on saxophones and Cuban bassist Ernesto Mazar Kindelán.

“One of Sosa’s great gifts is his ability to pick and choose from world music and make it his own easily… his hybrids fusing jazz improvisation and native island rhythms with elements of hip-hop, electro, classics, folk traditions and Suite.” (Jazz Times)

Sosa received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, D.C. in 2003 for his contributions to the development of Latin jazz in the United States. Over the years, Sosa has been nominated seven times for the GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY awards, and twice for the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards. In 2003, he received the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Album of the Year award from the Jazz Journalists Association in New York for his recording Sentir, and a nomination from the Jazz Journalists Association for Latin Jazz Album by the year in 2005 for his recording Mulatos, with Paquito D’Rivera. In 2008, Sosa received a commission from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and the Oakland East Bay Symphony to compose a major work for symphony orchestra (From Our Mother), supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2009, the Barcelona Jazz Festival commissioned Omar to write a tribute to Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue recording, featuring Afro-Cuban interpretations of Davis’ seminal work on his 50th birthday.

Sosa has released over 30 recordings as a leader, including Ceremony with the NDR Big, which received an ECHO Jazz Award in 2011 for Big Band Album of the Year in Germany, followed in 2017 by his second collaboration with the NDR Bigband entitled es: sensual.

In January 2012, Sosa collaborated with renowned Italian trumpet and flugelhorn player Paolo Fresu on the release of Alma, and in 2016 on their second album, Eros, both featuring guest cello contributions from the Brazilian master conductor, arranger, producer and cellist Jaques Morelenbaum (who also did the big band arrangements for Ceremony).

Omar’s touring schedule includes more than 100 concerts each year across five continents.

Sosa was born in Camagüey, Cuba in 1965. He moved to Havana in 1980 to continue his musical studies at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música, completing his formal training at the Instituto Superior de Arte in 1983. Among his influences, Sosa cites traditional Afro-Cuban music, European classical composers (including Chopin, Bartok and Satie), jazz masters Monk, Coltrane, Parker, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Chucho Valdés and the Cuban Jazz Band Iraqi pioneer.

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