May 01, 2008

An Evening With Omar Sosa by Celestial Dancer

On a quiet Friday night, the drive into San Francisco is eerily subdued and uneventful. It’s difficult to credit any importance to the other drivers or the sudden deep chill in the air. Nothing is as eventful as what awaits, an evening with Omar Sosa. This would be my first visit to a jazz set situated in a piano store, but what more befitting environment for Omar Sosa than a nest of beautiful and rare pianos…

The Piedmont Piano Company is an open loft of wood and glass that secures the circulating acoustic sound of the piano as Mr. Sosa begins to play. We the audience, are gently mesmerized as if strung together by the music on our potpourri bed of velvet and leather piano benches. Listening to Mr. Sosa’s music from a CD is a gift, but watching his performance live is an amazing experience that could never be encapsulated in an album. His fingers alight and dance on the keys of the Fazioli as if they were rhythmically charged raindrops tapping on a stage of welcoming glass, and infusing each ear with jazz euphoria. The Fazioli, referred to as the “Ferrari of pianos” by Mr. Sosa, was custom made by the Fazioli Company, named after founder and pianist, Paolo Fazioli, in the northeastern part of Italy. Some interesting characteristics of this grande grand piano are 18K gold fittings and hinges, and a soundboard of red spruce that is seasoned for two years before being assembled. With a price tag of about $200K, the Fazioli piano was brought to life in this evening’s spirited commune with Omar Sosa.

As we were drawn into Mr. Sosa’s purposeful and playful ballads and chorus, we were equally embraced by the strikingly crisp and alluring vocals of Mola Sylla, a gifted vocalist from Senegal, Childo Tomas, electric bass player from Mozambique, and the electronic drums genius of Marque Gilmore, from New York. After the set, Mr. Sosa and his fellow artists greeted and melded with the intimate sized audience as beautiful friends. Performing several concerts on six continents each year, Mr. Sosa performs with a variety of famous and local artists that bring a fresh and invigorating integration of talent that never disappoints. Having brought world renown and universal flavor back to a small piano store in downtown San Francisco without spilling a drop, Omar Sosa and his group planted a new seed of world jazz appreciation for some, and added new memories for others that will keep his name among the circle of jazz greats, and I was most fortunate to witness this one.


JazzyBlue said...

Celestial...this was a very beautifully written and informative piece!...What a lovely evening that must have been with Mr. Sosa!!

Thank you for sharing!

CECSR said...

This is a fantastic article! Celestial Dancer, this review made me feel as if I was in San Francisco witnessing first hand this marvelous musician tickle the keys of the Fazioli. Thank you so much for sharing and for representing SOJP the way only you can!