Pianist/composer Omar Sosa titled his latest album Prietos (idiomatic Spanish for black) because it was his intent to bring together a good deal of the music spawned by Mother Africa.

Pianist/composer Omar Sosa titled his latest album Prietos (idiomatic Spanish for black) because it was his intent to bring together a good deal of the music spawned by Mother Africa. Guest artists from Ecuador, Cuba, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Ivory Coast, Peru, and the U.S. join Sosa's septet in a wild ride that careens through Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz, gnawa and Esmeraldas chants, funk, and post-bop forms. The set features rap, poetry, and lyrics in five languages, including Yoruba, Arabic, and English. Sosa has a gift for rendering order from a chaos of influences, and it's amazing how he can resolve speculative lyrical and instrumental passages into one groove, as on "Blanco en Africa." His arrangements can be as straight-ahead and melodic as "Fragile" and "Twice as Sad" or as outside-the-box as "Mother Africa" and "Elegguá." Certainly one of the most passionate and eclectic world jazz titles in recent years, Prietos, distributed in the U.S. by Harmonia Mundi, is a singular piece of work.—PVV

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