Pianist/composer Omar Sosa has been more than willing in the past two years to pursue his artistic vision wherever it leads him.

Pianist/composer Omar Sosa has been more than willing in the past two years to pursue his artistic vision wherever it leads him. Both "Ayaguno" (2003) and "Pictures of the Soul" (2004) found Sosa assaying some edgy material in the sole company of a percussionist. For "Mulatos," however, he has returned to ensemble playing, enlisting the support of Aziz Arradi (guembri, qarqabas, vocals), Renaud Pion (clarinets), Dhafer Youssef (oud), Dieter Ilg (double bass), Philippe Foch (tabla) and Steve Argüelles (drums, electronics). Sosa and friends traverse nine superb jazz originals that leave no doubt as to Sosa's all-around virtuosity. Memorable moments include the refined lyricism of "Iyamo" and the sultry, tropical vibe of "Nuevo Manto," a song that benefits enormously from the performances of Ilg, Pion, guest Paquito D'Rivera and Sosa (on marimba). With "Mulatos," Sosa continues his rapid ascent to the top of the jazz world.—PVV

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