Almost 5,000 miles separate the birthplaces of Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu and Cuban pianist Omar Sosa. Yet these two genius improvisers and composers have found a way to demolish the distance and form an unusual but fascinating duo. The pair's concerts are nothing less than global jazz events – must-see shows for global jazz aficionados. Having worked together in a groundbreaking trio with Trilok Gurtu and recently released Alma (2011), a duo project with cello contributions from Jaques Morelenbaum, these two virtuosos bring their one-of-a-kind musical confluence to the Blue Note for a four-night run.
Born in 1965 in Camagüey, Cuba's largest inland city, Sosa began his musical study at age eight, studying percussion and marimba before taking up piano as a teenage student at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música in Havana. Amassing a unique alchemy of influences that includes traditional Afro-Cuban music, European classical composers (including Chopin, Bartok, and Satie), Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Chucho Valdés, and the pioneering Cuban jazz group Irakere, he ultimately relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995, where he was soon invigorating the Latin jazz scene with his adventurous writing and percussive style.
Annually performing upwards of 100 concerts on six continents, Sosa has appeared in venues as diverse as the Blue Note, Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and numerous notable jazz festivals across the globe. He's garnered several Grammy nominations and has released a string of well-regarded solo albums in the last decade, in addition to his work with Fresu.
Boasting a style that combines Miles Davis's penchant for melodic understatement with a taste for pushing boundaries, Paolo Fresu spent much of the '80s maturing into a major force on the Italian jazz scene. His popularity soon expanded to broader Europe, where he's a regular on the club and festival circuit. In addition to extensive work with his own groups and with Sosa, he's also collaborated with icons like Carla Bley and Ralph Towner. Among the latest additions to his vast discography are two releases on the ECM label, Chiaroscuro (2010) and Mistico Mediterraneo (2011).
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