SCREENING (director and Omar Sosa zoom Q&A): 01 November 2022 at 18:10

London - Barbican Cinema 2



Dir. Soren Sorensen, 2022, USA, 99 min

OMAR SOSA'S 88 WELL-TUNED DRUMS is a film on the life and music of the acclaimed Cuban-born pianist and composer, an endlessly versatile jazz artist who fuses jazz, world music and electronic elements with Afro-Cuban traditions to create a fresh and original sound with a Latin jazz heart.

Extensive interviews with Sosa, archival video and stills, and of course Sosa’s music, form the backbone of the film, with animated segments bringing bold and colourful movement to his stories, especially early ones for which there is no supporting material. The film traces Sosa’s creative origins, from his birth and childhood in Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city, to his conservatory education at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música in Havana, military service in Angola during that country’s long civil war, and relocation to Ecuador, where he wrote, arranged and performed commercial jingles.

Sosa’s story continues with a fateful move to the US in the 1990s, a stint as a sought-after sideman in the Bay Area’s burgeoning Latin jazz scene, and partnership with longtime manager Scott Price that continues to this day. In his 25+ years as a solo artist, he has released over 30 albums and received four Grammy nominations and three Latin Grammy nominations. Often performing as many as 100 concerts across six continents annually, Sosa has musical influences and collaborators as diverse as his travel itinerary. As Eugene Holley wrote in a 2004 Village Voice article that inspired the film’s title, “Sosa’s pianisms evoke distant echoes of McCoy Tyner's power, Keith Jarrett's improvisational flights of fancy, and Thelonious Monk's angular harmonies, transforming the piano into 88 well-tuned drums.”

Event supported by the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery.