Any deep dive exploration of jazz and blues roots requires a curiosity of people, places, sounds and spirituality far beyond our shores – something pianist Omar Sosa and violinist-vocalist Yilian Cañizares share and seek in creating their fascinating musical journeys.
Born and raised in Cuba, both musicians are classically trained and have lived, studied and collaborated all over the world. Upon first meeting at a festival in eastern France a few years ago, they discovered an immediate musical connection in the way they incorporated West African spiritual traditions (known in Cuba as Santería) in their jazz improvisations. And so an album concept was born. Written in various locales across Europe and recorded in Italy, “Aguas” is a deeply personal collection of songs reflecting the perspectives of two musicians living outside their homeland. Sosa and Cañizares are joined by Cuban percussionist Inor Sotolongo in a simple trio, yet the artists build an expansive soundscape of compelling keyboards and string-work, funky grooves, fusion riffs and improvisations, poetic and poignant vocals, and delicate interplay. The album celebrates water as its central theme, synonymous with life and a powerful source of creation, energy and strength – what the world needs now more than ever.
We featured Omar as our Voice of the Art this season and have long been fans of Yilian’s diverse work, so it’s an honor to include their beautiful album in our special Jazz Foundation section. With gratitude, we’re sending all profits received from the sale of the CD directly to the JFA COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund.