NDR Bigband plays Omar Sosa Arranged by Jaques Morelenbaum
Ceremony is a major new project, the fruit of pianist-composer Omar Sosa's first big-band collaboration with composer-arranger-cellist Jaques Morelenbaum, Hamburg's 18piece NDR Bigband (North German Radio / Norddeutscher Rundfunk), and the Omar Sosa Quartet, featuring Julio Barreto (drums, Cuba), Childo Tomas (electric bass, Mozambique), and Marcos Ilukan (Afro-Cuban percussion, Cuba). Sosa himself plays piano and marimba.
Recorded in two sessions (2007 and 2008) at NDR's Hamburg studios, under the direction of Morelenbuam and Sosa, Ceremony features Morelenbaum's brilliant arrangements of selections from Omar's Spirit Of The Roots (1999), Bembn (2000), and Afreecanos (2009) CDs - together with two new Sosa offerings, Llegada Con Elegba" (the introductory track) and Salida Con Elegba" (the closing piece).
Rooted in the Quartet's Afro-Cuban percussive traditions, Sosa's finely textured compositions enable Morelenbaum to summon forth a broad palette of sounds, fully mobilizing the NDR Bigband's sonic potential and its brilliant soloists, while leaving ample space for Sosa's own luminous improvisations.
Ceremony takes something of the structure of a sacred bat ceremony, invoking a panoply of Yoruba deities, while also delving into the Cuban son, danzn, and cha-cha-cha. Reflecting Sosa's own spiritual grounding, Ceremony opens in sacramental veneration of Elegba, the divine messenger and guardian spirit, the all-powerful medium and diviner of human fate. Chango En Esmeraldas" is an extended tribute to the deity of thunder and lightning, fire and moral retribution, and a reflection upon Sosa's musical sojourn in the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Esmeraldas. Yemaya En Agua Larga" honors the great mother and goddess of the sea, the moon, creation, and female mystery. In keeping with Yoruba tradition, Ceremony exits with a final ritual salutation to Elegba.
Ceremony acknowledges the majesty of the legendary Afro-Cuban big bands of Frank Machito" Grillo, Chico O'Farrill, and Dizzy Gillespie, while extending those revered traditions in a contemporary salute to the expansive universe of world jazz, wherein Sosa himself continues to reign as a joyous, generous, abundant, and essential creative spirit.
Ceremony grew out of a conversation with Hamburg producer Stefan Gerdes of NDR, who brokered the connection with Brazil's Morelenbaum, who is much sought after as an arranger, reflecting his signal work with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Cesaria Evora, and Mariza, among many others.
The NDR Bigband is an ensemble of accomplished soloists whose talents have been highlighted through the work of such noted arrangers as Steve Gray, Colin Towns, and Michael Gibbs. Over the years, the NDR Bigband's artistic collaborations have comprised a virtual Whos Who" of world jazz: including Chet Baker, Paquito D'Rivera, Pee Wee Ellis, Joe Gallardo, Lionel Hampton, Dave Holland, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Maria Schneider, Wayne Shorter, Oscar Brown, Jr., Al Jarreau, and Bobby McFerrin.
Ceremony will have its international debut at NDR in Hamburg on March 1819, 2010.
Omar Sosa Winter-Spring 2010 Tour Schedule
January 15 & 16: GazArte; Athens, GREECE
January 24: Carib'n Jazz Festival; Olympia, Paris, FRANCE
January 26: Le Cheval Blanc; Schiltigheim, FRANCE
January 28: Caveau Jazz; Fort du Bruissin, Lyon (Francheville), FRANCE
January 29: Club Pannonica; Salle Paul Fort, Nantes, FRANCE
January 30: Le Vauban; Brest, FRANCE
January 31: Aprem'Jazz; Theatre de Cornouaille, Quimper, FRANCE
February 6: La Mamisele; Saubrigues (Biarritz), FRANCE
February 26: Festival Jazzellerault; Nouveau Theatre Accord, Chatellerault, FRANCE
February 28: Musica en la Villa; Teatro Fernan Gomez, Madrid, SPAIN
March 5: Teatro Garibaldi; Santa Maria Capua Vetere (CE), ITALY
March 6: Teatro Comunale Giancarlo Siani; Marano di Napoli, ITALY
March 18 & 19: Ceremony CD Release Celebration: Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband at NDR Studios, Hamburg, GERMANY
March 21: Teatro Donizetti; Bergamo, ITALY
April 10:South Florida Jazz Presents; Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A.
April 14: Mount Vernon Country Club; Golden (Denver), Colorado, U.S.A.
April 15: Outpost Performance Space; Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.
April 16, 17, & 18: Yoshi's Oakland; Oakland, California, U.S.A.
April 21: Tri-C JazzFest; Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.
April 23: Detroit Institute of Arts; Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.