Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu and Cuban pianist Omar Sosa go deeper into territory explored by Sosa on his previous release, Calma, a solo effort. They are joined on four tracks by Brazilian cellist Jaques Morelenbaum. Blending acoustic and electronic sounds—Sosa’s a master at this—the two create expansive interior landscapes in 11 original compositions enlivened by Afro-Latin rhythms and brightened by sensitive improvisation. They bring the outdoors in with an imaginative take on Paul Simon’s “Under African Skies.” Alma does for the spirit what a good massage does for the body, inducing a deeply cleansing and restorative state of relaxation that approaches meditation.
On Córdoba, Argentinean bassist, composer and arranger Pedro Giraudo roots his compositions in specific personal experiences. Tinged with South American rhythms, the tracks have an almost programmatic quality, but that never interferes with their abstract beauty. The arrangements are spot-on; the ensemble work of the 12-piece orchestra, breathtaking; the solos, exhilarating; and the compositions themselves, sturdy and expressive. The pieces unfold in ever-surprising ways, keeping the listener in a state of heightened anticipation. From the childlike innocence of “Visitas” to the sometimes turbulent emotions of the three-part “Pueblo” to the humor of “Duende del Mate,” Giraudo delivers music full of humanity.