Music Review: Senses
Cuban-born pianist Omar Sosa began studying music when he was eight years old. Since moving to California’s Bay Area in 1995, he’s invigorated the Latin jazz scene with fresh ideas, tasteful electronic sampling, and attention to the subtle details of sound, often with his Afreecanos Quartet.
Improvised solo piano albums offer a glimpse into Sosa’s creative process, and his latest release, Senses, is an expressive gem, flowing across vulnerable emotional territories. The first delicate notes from the song “Sun Shower” are an invitation to enter this mellow and introspective album, which explores a very personal and spiritual journey; “I thought about what I was going through in my life at the time, which was emotionally very difficult,” writes Sosa in the album’s liner notes. “But as the saying goes, things happen for a reason, and thanks to this vulnerable period in my personal life and the opportunity to be alone with my fears and doubts, as well as with my ancestors and the Spirits, and of course with the beautiful piano and ideal sonic conditions, I was able to create at length.”
Senses, the sixth solo piano album from Sosa, was recorded on a Yamaha concert grand piano during breaks while working on a project with Zimbabwean dancer/choreographer Nora Chipaumire in New York in 2012. When Sosa’s wife heard the recordings, she remarked, “Such a sad music?” Sosa comments on the pieces that “I feel peaceful. I feel love of the sake of love. The pieces are musical journeys, during which my Cuban roots emerge in unusual, deconstructed ways.”