Whether or not you agree with the provocateur who suggests "jazz died in 1959," there's no denying that particular year has left a fright-load of ghosts in its wake. I'm referring to the many iconic records of ‘59 (Coltrane's Giant Steps, Brubeck's Time Out, Mingus's Ah Um, Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come, etc.) that continue to haunt the jazz world’s collective consciousness, the greatest of which is arguably Miles Davis's Kind of Blue.
Jazz pianist Omar Sosa channels this powerful ghost on his new album, Eggun (named after an Afro-Cuban term for ancestor spirit guides), set for release next week on Otá Records. A tribute to Davis’s most influential record, Sosa digs deep into elements of the improvised solos (by Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Bill Evans) on Kind of Blue, transcribing and using them as the basis for entirely new compositions.
The melodic revenants on Eggun stretch out over percussive grooves, suggestive of the toques de muerta (ritual rhythms used in Santerían ceremonies to summon the dead). If you listen attentively, you can hear the faint traces of those who have gone before — profoundly transformed in this new and mysterious music. And that’s no easy magic.
Touchstones or tombstones? Are the major monuments of jazz inspiring or burying the future of the art form? Interested to hear from all you artists and fans out there about what you think, in the comments below.
Please note, the pre-release stream of Eggun has now expired. If you would like to purchase this album it is available on iTunes.
Omar Sosa's website
Kind of Bloop: an 8-bit tribute to Kind of Blue