Omar Sosa’s Eighty-Eight Well-Tuned Drums is a documentary about the life and music of Cuban-born pianist and composer Omar Sosa. The film features interviews and never-before-seen footage of multiple performances set against the backdrop of recording sessions for Sosa’s new album, ilę, set for early-2015 release.
The film traces Sosa’s origins from his birth in Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city, conservatory education in Havana, and relocation to Ecuador where he briefly wrote and arranged commercial jingles. Sosa’s story continues with a fateful mid-90s move to the U.S., a stint as a sought-after sideman in the Bay Area’s Latin jazz scene, and partnership with manager Scott Price that continues to this day.
Since 1997, Sosa has released 24 albums and received four Grammy nominations and three Latin Grammy nominations. Performing approximately 80 concerts on six continents annually, Sosa is known for a rhythmic style, hence the “Drums” of the film’s title, and musical influences as varied as his travel itinerary.
During the past two years, whenever Sosa appeared in the northeastern U.S., filmmaker Soren Sorensen was granted unprecedented access to Sosa and his bandmates for interviews, rehearsals, and performances. Omar Sosa’s Eighty-Eight Well-Tuned Drums includes glimpses of the globetrotting artist in duo with celebrated Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu, with the Afri-Lectric Sextet, and with his latest band, the New AfroCuban Quartet in storied venues including New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club.
Sosa’s New AfroCuban Quartet features fellow Camagüey natives Leandro Saint-Hill on alto saxophone and flute and Ernesto Simpson on drums and bassist Childo Tomas who hails from Maputo, Mozambique. Perhaps most thrilling for fans will be the full-circle nature of Sosa’s forthcoming ilę, which is poised to reunite Sosa’s music with his Cuban roots.
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