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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by voxjuventus via http://flickr.com

On the subject of the pianist Osmany Paredes, the percussionist (and Jazz Gallery veteran) Dafnis Prieto provides high praise: ”…a fantastic musician. I’m using him whenever I can. He can go in so many different directions, but he’s got such a strong identity he always adds something unexpected into the mix. When he’s playing my music, I just turn him loose.”

Osmany was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, and began studying music at the tender age of five. His father, the percussionist Guillermo Paredes, was Osmany’s first teacher, and their lessons provided an immersion in Afro-Caribbean rhythmic traditions. Focusing on his musical studies throughout his adolescence, the pianist inhaled the European classical repertoire, and began to listen to whatever jazz recordings he could get his hands on. After a few tours abroad, Osmany made the move to Mexico City, where he spent eleven years performing with some of the best musicians in town (and in the world): Israel “Cachao” López, Carlos “Patato” Valdes, Antonio Sánchez, and Jerry Gonzalez. The pianist released his first album, Menduvia (Fonosound), in 2003.

The same year, Osmany fulfilled a longtime dream by moving to the United States, settling briefly in Los Angeles before deciding to make Boston his home base. Dafnis Prieto and Yosvany Terry both quickly began taking the pianist on the road, and people began to take notice. “Steeped in the European classical tradition, enamored of jazz, and fully conversant with Cuban popular music, [Osmany] Paredes is a thrilling player who combines percussive attack with a vivid harmonic imagination,” writes Andrew Gilbert in The Boston Globe. “Paredes is an aggressive stylist with a bright-sounding, percussive approach and penchant for fiery improvisations, yet time and again he revealed a sweet side,” remarks Bob Young in The Boston Herald, proclaiming, “Heed the buzz: Paredes is not to be missed.”

We first heard Osmany as a sideperson in the bands of Dafnis Prieto and Yosvany Terry, and presented his own band for the first time in 2008. We look forward to welcoming the pianist back this Thursday night for a performance with his quartet.

Watch Osmany perform with the drummer (and fellow Jazz Gallerian) Antonio Sánchez and the bassist Luri Molina in Mexico City in 2003.