CD Review: Omar Puente: Best Foot Forward

His new album ‘Best Foot Forward' continues in the spirit of his 2009 debut ‘From There to Here', drawing on musical influences from around the globe whilst rooting itself in Omar's Afro-Cuban heritage. The project fuses musical experiences from Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe, with a deep understanding of jazz. This rich mix produces an album of complex and infectious rhythms and original melodies all played brilliantly by Omar and his all star band. Tracks such as ‘Danza de los Spiritus' and ‘En la Noche' give Omar the chance to weave his Cuban spell whilst ‘Samba Para Dos', ‘Morning in Morocco' and ‘Debbie's One Drop' bring flavours and harmonies from Brazil, the Middle East and Jamaica respectively. Solidly backed by a superb band and often featuring the rootsy Bata drums of Afro-Cuba, the album also includes some fine ensemble playing by, amongst others, Denys Baptiste on saxophone and Santiago's trumpet master Victor Hechavarria.Dedicated to his wife Debbie Purdy who died in 2014, this album is the result of 20 years providing musical joy to everyone who has had the pleasure of hearing Omar play or sharing a stage with him. We are exceptionally lucky that he has chosen the UK as his home, and equally lucky to have this album to treasure.Dave Willetts

This review appeared in CubaSi magazine Autumn 2016.

Omar Puente: Best Foot ForwardOP Records Sept 2016

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