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Omar Sosa: Eggũn: The Afri-Lectric Experience

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Originally a commission from the Barcelona Jazz Festival in 2009, Eggũn: The Afri-Lectric Experience is Cuban pianist, composer and arranger Omar Sosa’s take on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue on the 50th anniversary of that landmark recording. The Davis album occupies such a place in the imagination of jazz audiences that the assignment, while ripe with possibilities, is also rife with challenges. But even while featuring a band including two saxophones and trumpet (often with Harmon mute), Sosa takes an original path, making occasional direct allusions to Davis’ recording (most notably in some of the connecting interludes) or drawing from melodic cells contained in its solos. Mostly, though, Sosa reinvents the source material by bringing it together with his pan-African and pan-Latin sound.

Sosa has made a career of smartly connecting the dots between disparate African-rooted music while fostering a dialogue between ancient beliefs, traditional instruments and technology, something reflected here in the instrumentation and arranging. In Eggũn-which in Ifá, a West African spiritual practice, signifies the spirits of those who have gone before us-the approach has been so practiced and the different strands have been so tightly woven as to make everything sound and feel of one piece.

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