Omar Sosa Octet cranks out an energetic set

by Christopher Moss | 10/13/03 5:00am

Sounds of jazz, Spanish lyrics and fast paced rhymes echoed through Spaulding Auditorium on Friday Night. The beautiful melange filling the room was provided by the Omar Sosa Octet, headed by jazz pianist Omar Sosa.

However, only seven members of the band appeared on stage. According to Sosa, the eighth member, Mohamad El M'rabet, was detained at customs on account of his name.

The show began with drummer Josh Jones walking out on stage alone and playing solo for a while. Slowly, the rest of artists entered one by one, their sound going on display as the others faded into the background.

Gallaraga walked out and began to sing softly in Spanish. She was followed by Brutha Los, who replaced her soft music with a barrage of rap in English.

The climax came when Sosa himself walked out onto the stage and played the piano staccato style. After each musician had been featured in the music, they came together make energetic jazz.

Sosa's performance was particularly entertaining and engaging. He would bang on the keys and whip the tune a jingling quality as the necklace rattled to the vibrations.

The concert featured several numbers that featured individual players. The spotlight would focus on a single member, who would play while the others played softer background music. Halfway through the concert, Brutha Los once again demonstrated his abilities as an MC with a piece that generated sounds of awe throughout the audience.

Saxophonist Luis Depestre and Sosa would go back and forth challenging each other to play faster and faster. Sosa's hands would whip up and down the keyboard while he smiled at Luis, daring him to top it.

Sosa displayed a great range, later, alone on the stage, he played a short slow solo that differed greatly from his usual upbeat style.

About a third of the way into the evening, the members of the group introduced each other and walked off stage giving the impression that the concert was over. They returned to the stage seconds later and began playing again. They did this three times during the concert, receiving two standing ovations as the audience mistakenly thought they were through.

The group came out of intermission by beginning with bass player Geoff Brennan. Alone on the stage he played a slow song while the others rested in the wings. As Brennan finished, they trickled on stage showcasing their talent one by one much like they did in the beginning.

The group finished in comic style. With their arms intertwined, they began kicking their legs like showgirls while the audience stood and clapped.

After the show Sosa stayed for a question and answer session with the audience. He expressed his great love for his music saying, "if I enjoy it, maybe you enjoy it." The audience did enjoy it, as evidenced by the massive line of people waiting to buy one or more of his CDs after the performance. The group's high energy and enthusiasm made the night one to be remembered.