Oscar Peñas in concert
Peñas pays homage to jazz masters with intricate harmonies that are cool, contemplative, and infectiously upbeat.
Catalan-American guitarist, composer and bandleader Oscar Peñas’ fourth album and second release in the United States, Music of Departures and Returns, includes a Brazilian choro and a tribute to flamenco master Paco de Lucia; a jazz standard and a classic from the Cuban Nueva Trova songbook; and music by the great Catalonian composer Frederic Mompou.
Yet this is neither a music sampler nor a showcase of Peñas’ talents in different settings and styles.
This is more or less who I am. I’m not trying to push boundaries, prove anything or show off in any way, explains Peñas.
It’s a collection of pieces, some mine, some by other composers that I have always admired, that I felt had a common mood, a certain sound that reflects my personality and where I come from.
Music of Departures and Returns features his quartet, comprised of his long-standing rhythm section featuring six-string electric bassist Moto Fukushima, drummer Richie Barshay, and violinist Sara Caswell. The band is augmented by special guests such as bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, reedman Paquito D’Rivera and pianist, producer and arranger Gil Goldstein who appears on accordion.