Guitarist/Composer Oscar Penas Appearing In NYC In Support of New Recording From Now On
Tuesday, November 1, 7:00 PM at the 55 Bar
With Dan Blake (saxophones), Moto Fukushima (bass), Franco Pinna (drums), and special guest, Gil Goldstein
November 5 at the Bar Next Door
With Moto Fukushima (bass), Franco Pinna (drums)
It's difficult to separate Peñas the performer from Peñas the composer, due to the fact that his music lives and breathes through his entrancing guitar work, but they need not be graded on different scales. On both accounts, Oscar Peñas' proves to be a master artist who paints with mood and melody in equal quantities. From Now On
is a veritable feast of delicious, Spanish-tinged delicacies served by a guitarist and composer deserving greater attention." Dan Bilawsky
, All About Jazz
While indeed a musical melting pot of a variety of cultures and influences, it is an introspective reflection on his own cultural heritage that transforms From Now On
into such an intoxicating work." A unique fusion of sound and vision that never borders on the tired or self indulgent but instead simmers to a slow boil of energy with a rich texture that Peñas can rightfully lay claim to as his own distinct voice." Brent Black
, @ Critical Jazz
Oscar's music is inviting and from the soul; finely cultivated and fully realized...his writing and playing have beautiful motion and uniquely sensuous melodies." Esperanza Spalding
Oscar is a very dedicated musician with a unique sound and creative writing" Luciana Souza
Oscar Peñas has found a way to merge traditional Spanish music with Jazz in a way that seems totally natural and fresh. The songs sound familiar and are totally welcoming. He also recorded them in a natural way, without overproducing them, and allowed himself and the players carte blanche to find their own personalities within the music. A rare quality for records that are produced today and makes it unique and refreshing for all listeners." Gil Goldstein
Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records recently released the third recording, From Now On
, from guitarist/composer Oscar Peñas. In celebration of the new recording Peñas will be appearing in NYC on two occasions, November 1 at The 55 Bar with his quartet, plus special gues, Gil Goldstein, and November 5, in an intimate trio setting at The Bar Next Door.
Utilizing a multi-cultural band with members from the U.S., Japan and Argentina, Peñas delivers an album of music that he is very attached to, as it truly defines who he is as a Barcelona-born/Brooklyn-based composer and improviser. Paradoxically, Peñas feels that he had to be removed geographically from his native Spain to compose the music for From Now On. The recording is many things, but it is predominantly Peñas' personal and heartfelt reflection on his cultural heritage.
Nylon string guitar was Peñas' first instrument and he uses it again here to great effect, incorporating a dexterous finger picking style from his formative classical training. This technique combines with hints of Iberian music and memories of flamenco, informing the compositions, but never pretending to be faithful to any particular style or palo (sub-genre of flamenco). This influence is most profound on the title track, From Now On" (featuring Gil Goldstein and Franco Pinna), and also on Encuentro, the oldest composition on the album, from the late nineties.
Spanish music and contemporary jazz are not the only influences on Peñas' writing. Brazilian music was love at first sight for the guitarist, and remains a strong influence on his music. This infatuation is clearly evident when listening to Choro n.1 (Guinga)"dedicated to the great guitarist/composer from Rio de Janeiro, and Choro n.2 (Corpo)," a composition that Peñas wrote immediately after attending an outstanding dance performance at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) by the Brazilian Corpo Dance Company that blew his mind.
Argentinean music and Cuban filin are the other strong influences in Peñas' compositions for this album. Samuel Smith,named after a British beer, is his way to pay tribute to an Argentinean mood," expressed in a recurrent ostinato. Julia, dedicated to the memory of Oscar's late cousin, is an optimistic kind of bolero that simply celebrates life.
Listening to the lyrical, solo-less, last track of the album, Adéu ("goodbye" in Catalan), one could never mistake where Oscar Peñas is from, and where he is now.