Artist: Omar Sosa
Label: Otá Records
Formats: CD, MP3
Release date: February 12, 2013
Honoring those that have walked before and after him, Afro Cuban pianist Omar Sosa pays homage to Miles Davis’s legacy with Eggūn: the Afri-Lectric Experience. Commissioned in 2009 by the Barcelona Jazz Festival to produce a tribute to Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue for its 50th anniversary, listeners will notice that Sosa’s role in Eggūn is more of a pianistic spiritual facilitator than that of piano soloist. Sosa’s eleven-piece pan-global ensemble captures the emotion and vibes of Kind of Blue while weaving transatlantic flavors like the Moroccan bendir and trompeta china with expressive elements of electronic music.
The three percussionists Pedro Martinez, John Santos and Gustavo Ovalles and drummer Marque Gilmore are key in creating the sonic structures necessary in transforming the tone of each piece while maintaining a continuous spiritual accompaniment in Eggūn. Most interesting, in this tribute, are the six interludes which feature the ensemble of sacred batá drums necessary in any Santeria invocation: the Okónkolo, Iyá, Itótele.
In West African and in Cuban Afro-syncretic religions, existence is not limited to one’s physical life on earth. The eggun-gun are spirits of ancestors and some are the spiritual guides assigned to a person at birth. Sosa’s Eggūn celebrates the spirit and freedom of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue using a plethora of musical devices (both acoustic and electric) and spoken word from the African diaspora.
Above all a profoundly spiritual man, Omar Sosa’s Eggūn highlights himself as a humble messenger of his ancestors. The musical talents of Sosa are a gift and a vessel carrying a message from the spiritual world to this one. This offering of fifteen tracks provides his jazz ancestors with the attention necessary to maintain active communication and pass along the spiritual wisdom gained from Davis’ colossal work. By connecting with his ancestors (his eggūn) Sosa has affirmed the continuum from the distant past towards the distant future in hopes that those that walk after him will call upon his musical legacy after he becomes eggūn one day.
Reviewed by Madelyn Shackelford Washington