Born in Barcelona, our guest on 11/19/2014 has made QUITE a splash in his adopted country. Besides the fact that he just voted for the first time - as an American citizen :) Oscar Penas (I can't wait to say his last name: PEA Nyas!) is a gifted guitarist, composer and bandleader with a new CD that is, indeed, bragworthy. "Music of Departures and Returns" is full of inspirations that captivate Oscar - who has discussed the reasons why he was so drawn to Jazz after his childhood studies in Classical Music. He relished the idea of creating melodies and interacting with other musicians. Pat Metheny and Wayne Shorter were sparks that goaded him early on. Then, the music of Pixinguinha - the flamenco music of Spain that was so infused inside of him - all the ingredients that would define the intoxicating stew of Oscar's music - were taking shape. This is a gentleman who has won the "ASCAP Plus Award" - so SOMETHING's working :)
Oscar is visiting us for two reasons. One, he's performing at the prestigious Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland, in the next few days. We certainly wanted to call attention to that. Secondly, this new album, Oscar's fourth, is full of music that enriches the soul. Esperanza Spalding and Paquito D'Rivera are featured - as is producer, arranger and pianist, Gil Goldstein. He also focuses on quartet: six-string electric bassist Moto Fukushima, drummer Richie Barshay, and the world-class violinist, Sara Caswell.
Besides being an alluring guitarist - both intelligent and earthy - Oscar is a wise man. He knew that, after his education at Berklee and the New England Conservatory, he would have to stand out in the sea of sublime artistry that populates New York City. So, he dug deeply, honoring his roots and his passion for Jazz. The results will make your ears thank you :)
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