Omar Sosa, grand piano, vocals, percussion inside piano; Gustavo Ovalles, bata drums, congas, bongo, culoe puya, quitiplas, guiro, snare, cymbals, vocals
Cuban Omar Sosa on grand piano and Venezuelan drummer Gustavo Ovalles give a live performance in Yokohama, Japan, to what sounds like a very small audience. A pity this, Sosa is an exciting and atmospheric player with always something interesting to say.
The opening piece, "Black Reflection", eases us in with a quiet, quizzical ambience; then moving into "Una Tradicion Negra", he opens up with sparkling authority and a profound poise. Ovalles has an armory of Venezuelan percussion instruments, which he puts to good use in coloring and creating mood. This is straight from Afro-Cuban, Afro-Venezuelan roots, sometimes poignant, sometimes prayerful; there are quiet periods that can build reflection and tension, then suddenly rising to tumultuous fluidity. "Toridanzon" and "Eleggua in the Road" are superb pieces; enhanced by innovative percussion, Sosa displays an almost missionary zeal in these uplifting tracks. Sosa is an inventive and stirring pianist, this is well worth a listen.
by Ferdinand Maylin
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