John Santos - Omar Sosa

La Mar

Machete Records

Omar Sosa, piano, spoken voice; John Santos, batá, toys, bells, coro, shakers and other percussions; Guillermo "Negro" Triana, lead voice, coro, clave; Lázaro Rizo, coro, spoken voice; Rahsaan Fredericks, bass; Maria Márquez, voice; Andy Narell, steel pans

I could not wait to put this one on. Just the idea of John Santos collaborating with the great Omar Sosa is enough to make any Latin Jazz fan gleeful. I was not disappointed.

The first tune is listed as "Niño Santo" an Afro-Cuban folklore tune, however it sounds like a tune from my childhood called "Frére Jacques" (Brother John). It starts off with a very simple repetition of the theme and then proceeds to allow Omar Sosa to paint a beautiful piano solo, before the piece migrates into a haunting vocal story accompanied by percussions and then fades away in the end.

The title track, "La Mar" is as the liner notes suggest, a most powerful spiritual. Maria Marquez vocal offering on this tune literally made goose bumps rise on my arms. I played this one over several times.

This is a nine track CD. Two pieces composed by Sosa, three by Santos and Sosa, two by Sosa and Santos and two Afro-Cuban folk tunes.

by Haybert K. Houston

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