OMAR SOSA AFREECANOS QUARTET | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

OMAR SOSA AFREECANOS QUARTET 

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Cuban pianist Omar Sosa enjoys a well-deserved reputation for following his own path. Where most of his compatriots attack every chorus with the urgent intensity of a dying man, he incorporates space and light into his virtuosic playing, which links him both to older Cuban forms and to the mysteries of postmodern jazz. And his ongoing interest in uniting musical traditions of Africa and the Middle East using Afro-Cuban rhythms as the glue has produced some seriously idiosyncratic stuff--2002's Sentir is a wild ride featuring a Moroccan singer and an American rapper. For his new Afreecanos Quartet, he couldn't have found a more simpatico collaborator than Senegalese percussionist-vocalist Mola Sylla: now living in Amsterdam, Sylla collaborates regularly with new-music cellist Ernst Reijseger and has recorded with Tuvan and Sardinian throat singers. His hearty tenor and passionate delivery offer grand possibilities for this group, which also includes Mozambican bassist Childo Tomas and Cuban drummer Julio Barreto. All four players will appear on the group's debut, a live album called Promise (Skip) originally due this fall but now pushed back to 2008. a 7:30 and 10 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $20.

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