Pictures of Soul
Omar Sosa/Adam Rudolph
Ota Records ASIN: B00014X868
Release date: January 13, 2004

A very experimental modern jazz recording written and produced in tandem by Cuban born tribal-jazz pianist Omar Sosa and percussionist Adam Rudolph (who also plays flute on a few selections).

This recording is far more jazz oriented than Sosa’s previous efforts. In the past Sosa concentrated more on fusing jazz and a variety of tribal influences including Latin and African rhythms. While this recording still has the Latin flavor due to Rudolph’s vibrant percussive work, Sosa’s piano playing is far more in a traditional modern jazz vein, bringing to mind recent works we’ve reviewed for keyboardist Keith Jarrett. Some of the slower selections also have a somewhat classical motif.

Since Sosa’s last effort, which was basically a solo recording, he’s been exploring the piano as a percussive instrument and in this recording he sometimes does percussion by slapping the inside of the piano and the string harp while Rudolph works on the hand drums.

The call ends with Rudolph playing a percussive note, followed by one played on keys by Sosa, followed by a last one further up the scale from Rudolph.

Kachiruma starts off sounding very Latin due to Rudolph’s percussion work. Then Sosa comes in with some airy Jazz piano. Next Sosa joins in on percussion playing the inside of the piano as Rudolph works the drums. Finally Sosa is back on some percussive and at times dissonant piano. Then it’s back to Sosa beating on the piano strings again while Rudolph whales on the drums doing a heavy clave. Then Sosa takes off on some fast jazz runs against the clave. Once again they do a duet on percussion as the song fades out.

Eye of the Blackbird features Sosa on slow, melodic piano and Rudolph on a flute that almost sounds like a pan pipe.

The Wandering Night starts off with something sounding like the sympathetic strings of a sitar.

Sosa’s earlier efforts with a combo, while sometimes strange and off-the-wall, are generally easier for the average listener to handle. His most recent works, including this fine recording, favor the record buyer who is more in touch with the world of experimental modern jazz.

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