11/20/11

Omar Sosa Afreecanos Quartet & Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band

Report and photos from performance at Zellerbach Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa.

Continuing with the celebration of the 40th Anniversary season and the Latin Roots Series at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the audience was treated to a double performance by two outstanding musicians bringing their unique musical styles of Afro- Cuban and Latin Jazz to the Zellerbach Theatre on Friday, October 28, 2011.

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Andy and Jerry Gonzalez in performance at Zellerback Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa.
By Ben Johnson
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Andy and Jerry Gonzalez in performance at Zellerback Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa.
By Ben Johnson
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Andy and Jerry Gonzalez in performance at Zellerbach Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa.
By Ben Johnson
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Larry Willis in performance with Jerry Gonzalez & Fort Apache Band at Zellerbach Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa.
By Ben Johnson
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Omar Sosa in performance at Zellerbach Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa.
By Ben Johnson
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Omar Sosa in performance at Zellerbach Theatre in Philadelphia, Pa.
By Ben Johnson

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Our first performer was five-time Grammy®-nominated, Cuban pianist, and composer Omar Sosa and his Afreecanos Quartet. The stage remained dark as Sosa, dressed in red and gold garb, walked on stage moving slowly and majestically toward the piano carrying a lighted candle in a red jar. He placed the candle atop the piano then began playing gentle chords as each member of the band took their places on stage. The band featured Marque Gilmore, drums; Childo Tomas, electric bass and percussions; Leandro Saint-Hill, saxophones. There was little talking and lots of concentrated playing.

Sosa’s style of playing is intense, complex with spiritual chanting and Afro-Cuban musical roots threaded throughout. At times it felt as if you were attending a musical religious service; then you were transformed to a night club grooving to the rhythms making for an awesome set.

Sosa’s music was cooking, rich, edgy, spiritual and seasoned with bebop, funk, hip hop and electronics. Sosa chanted praises, worked electronic gadgets connected to the piano along with foot pedals. He played the Fender Rhodes with so much funkiness and creativity, that Joe Zawinul would be smiling down on the performance.

Next up was Jerry Gonzalez & the Fort Apache Band. The band features Jerry Gonzalez on trumpet, flugelhorn and congas; Andy Gonzalez, bass, the legendary Larry Willis on piano; the legendary Joe Ford on alto and tenor saxophonist Joe Ford and Dafnis Prieto on drums. The band performed many standards blending complex Latin rhythms with excellent traditional jazz improvisations.

Located on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is one of the nation’s preeminent performing arts centers that have been enriching the community for 40 years with an exciting array of world-renowned artists and performances.

We look forward to contuing to cover many more outstanding musicians who will be performing in the Philadelphia area.

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