Calma: solo piano & …
Omar Sosa, the Cuban-born pianist and composer whose music is steeped in jazz, the Caribbean rhythms and textures of his homeland and African music, often and most intriguingly works with large canvases: Take, for instance, last year’s sprawling, ambitious Ceremony, a collaboration with the NDR Big Band. Calma is by comparison a miniaturist work, a collection of pieces played unaccompanied aside from occasional ambient noises. It’s meditative and exploratory, and only occasionally hints at the themes and motifs heard in his large-ensemble compositions.
In addition to acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes, Sosa uses various electronic effects and samples—children’s voices, percussion, stray chordal washes—to add additional flavors to these pieces. The result is an expansive, multi-part work that additionally hints at electronica, classical new music, downtempo—even new age. Sosa has recorded solo piano albums in the past, but as the title here indicates, this is something else. “Sunrise” begins with single drawn-out notes and moves into melancholy meanderings, while “Walking Together” enlivens the sound with electric and acoustic layering. “Autumn Flowers” employs fluttering patterns and “Madre” is a warm, poignant hymn.
Calma is less about particularly memorable melodies and more about impressionism and mood setting. It’s all laidback and soothing, to a fault. The disc is fine but ultimately far less satisfying than Sosa’s full-band albums.