IssuesJune 2024

Omar Acosta Album Feature & Review: Impronta

Omar Acosta, Venezuelan flutist and composer based in Madrid since 1998, is recognized as one of the most prominent Venezuelan musicians of his generation. With eight albums to his credit, his latest two works, "Latitud," received the Silver Medal at the 2017 Global Music Awards, and "Entretiempo y tiempo" was nominated for the Latin Grammy in 2021. His extensive repertoire spans from classical music to flamenco and world music. He has been part of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, and has served as a flutist and musical director at the National Ballet of Spain.

Brief history of the Album:

In this work, we can hear influences from Venezuelan music, which was my first musical influence. Additionally, we explore elements of classical music, flamenco, and improvised music, but I say that in reality, it's just music.

Why did you record this album?

The majority of the music featured on this album has been performed in my concerts with various ensembles: duos, trios, quintets, and more. Until I capture it on an album, I don't feel entirely at ease because I believe it hasn't fully come to life. Now, I can say that these versions of my music are recorded at a very high musical level, allowing the audience to understand more clearly what I want to convey. Flutists are melodic musicians who, although we can make music alone, depend on the frequencies of other instruments. We need them to fill all the sound space that we cannot cover, and the combination of flute, cuatro, piano/keyboards, and double bass is a very rich formation both melodically and harmonically.

Where did you get your Inspiration?

My inspiration springs from my day-to-day life, anywhere and anytime, often without warning. My life is music.

Details about the project?

In this album, I have a luxury team. I consider that the final result of a musical piece lies in the hands of the musicians who participate in it. Each member brings their unique influences and personal style, enriching the outcome in ways that I could not achieve alone. What I most enjoy in my music is providing my colleagues with the space to give their best.

In the quartet, I am accompanied by Miguel Siso (winner of a Latin Grammy in 2018) as a cuatrista and producer. Miguel is extremely musical and meticulous; it is a great fortune to have him in production. Then there's Johnny Kotock, an authentic musician who works magic with the piano and keyboards. Completing the quartet is Manuel Alejandro Sánchez, a wonderful double bassist and orchestra conductor.

I have also asked for the valuable collaboration of two great musician friends: Rafa Pino on the maracas and Enrique Bermúdez on the flamenco guitar.

To top it all off, To top it off, I have the great luck and honor of having four enormous musicians whom I love and admire: Pedro Eustache, an extraordinary multi-instrumentalist, on the flute, who was my flute maestro and later a fellow member of the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra. I owe him infinite gratitude for always supporting me. Jorge Pardo, who collaborates on the saxophone, is perhaps the most important figure in jazz-flamenco. I am a great admirer of Jorge, an extraordinary musician; it is a great honor for me to have him. Alexis Cárdenas on the violin, a great friend and one of the most complete violinists I have ever seen; a true luxury. Manuel Machado, a Cuban and one of the most sought-after trumpeters in Europe, a former member of the Irakere group. I am fortunate to be able to say that he is my friend and a musician with boundless sensitivity.

Track list:

- Impronta

- Nuria (Venezuelan merengue)

- Jazmín (Flamenco tangos/son)

- Carmesí (Flamenco seguiriya rhythm)

- Saltaperico (Venezuelan merengue)

- El Flutero (“Joropo tuyero”)

- La mañana (Venezuelan merengue)

- Pajarillo - Joropo

- Son como son (Son)

(All tracks composed by Omar Acosta)

Impronta CD Review

Omar Acosta, the virtuoso flutist hailing from Venezuela, has once again mesmerized audiences with his latest release, "Impronta." This album is a testament to Acosta's extraordinary talent, seamlessly blending his classical training with vibrant jazz influences, all while paying homage to his Venezuelan roots.

From the very first track, Acosta's creativity shines through. His lyrical phrasing and intricate rhythms transport listeners to the heart of Venezuela, capturing the essence of its rich musical heritage. Each piece on "Impronta" is a sonic journey, where Acosta's flute becomes a storyteller, weaving tales of the landscapes and cultures that have shaped his musical identity.

One of the standout features of "Impronta" is Acosta's ability to quote traditional Venezuelan sounds and motifs, infusing them with a contemporary flair. This synthesis of old and new creates a unique soundscape that is both nostalgic and innovative. His interpretation of folk melodies, intertwined with jazz improvisations, showcases not only his technical prowess but also his deep emotional connection to the music.

Tracks like "Pajarillo" and "El Flutero" exemplify his rhythmic genius. The former captures the serene beauty of a Venezuelan dawn with delicate, airy flute passages, while the latter bursts with lively, danceable rhythms that echo the vibrant energy of the Caribbean. Acosta's dexterity and control are evident, as he effortlessly navigates complex time signatures and rapid-fire passages without losing the expressive quality of his playing.

Another highlight is the piece "Jazmín," where Acosta's flamenco influences are most prominent. Here, his flute sings with a purity and precision that can only come from rigorous training, yet it is imbued with a warmth and soulfulness that speaks to his flamenco jazz sensibilities. This track, like the entire album, is a perfect example of Acosta's ability to balance technical mastery with heartfelt expression and fusing colorful rhythms.

"Impronta" is not just an album; it is a cultural tapestry woven with threads of tradition, innovation, and virtuosity. Omar Acosta has created a work that is both a personal reflection and a universal celebration of music's power to transcend borders. His lyrical, rhythmic, and wonderfully creative approach makes "Impronta" a must-listen for fans of world music, classical, and jazz alike.

In this latest release, Acosta has firmly established himself as a bridge between the past and the present, the classical and the contemporary. "Impronta" is a remarkable achievement, a musical imprint that leaves a lasting impression on all who listen.

--Viviana Guzmán, The Flute View Magazine

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