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Omar

SUNDAY 8 APRIL 2018

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There are precious few, if any contemporary UK artists whose creative credentials and influence extend as far and so consistently wide as Freestyle Recording artist Omar. Since first breaking through to worldwide renown all the way back in 1991 with his first releases on Gilles Peterson's seminal Talkin' Loud label, and since going on to work with all manner of musical legends including a certain Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Angie Stone, Syreeta Wright, Common, and Carleen Anderson.  

Omar first came to prominence more than 2 decades ago, when his debut single for indie label Kongo Dance Mr. Postman/You And Me made him a hot name on London’s underground.  It was soon afterwards that the success of his Ohio Players-influenced love ballad, the much celebrated There’s Nothing Like This, led to his signing to Gilles Peterson’s Talkin’ Loud label. Omar released a couple of album for the Phonogram affiliate during 1992/3, the first a re-working of his Kongo set for the wider audience, the second, Music, a vastly more orchestral and organic affair that highlighted Omar’s maturing as a composer, arranger and vocalist. 

Throughout the years, Omar continued to move his career on and upwards working and collaborating with industry's top artists, producers, singers and songwriters, as well as sitting in as principal percussionist to the Kent Youth Orchesra, titling his career a 21 year-long run.

Omar returns with a brand new album that many say is without doubt the strongest of his entire career. The buzz generated by the single release of the album's title track, The Man, confirmed beyond doubt that Omar is very much at the top of his game, with everyone from BBC 6 Music's Gilles Peterson, BBC Radio 2's Trevor Nelson and Jamie Cullum giving both major support and high praise for the simply magnificent new high point for Omar's renowned ability to write devastatingly catchy melodies.

Across the rest of this new album, opener Simplify sets the template, with its luscious and majestic string backed introduction raising the curtain on this deep, hard grooving number. Omar also joins forces with Germany's Hidden Jazz Quartett on High Heels - growling organ spars with the tough, jagged drumbeat on this tough, funk driven collaboration. Elsewhere, latin textures and rhythms have always been part of Omar's far reaching musical vocabulary, and on Come On Speak To Me and Ordinary Day restless south American beats underpin the crisp and fresh melodies.

Soul II Soul's Caron Wheeler offers her distinctive voice on the duet Treat You, allowing these two legendary voices to unite beautifully. Completing the circle that began all the way back in the early 1990s, Omar has re-recorded his classic love song There's Nothing Like This, which this time features bass player to the Gods Pino Palladino. The touching sentiment remains undiminished, but the addition of soaring strings, soulful, jazzy horns, a vibrant live and acoustic feel, plus an extended and new arrangement. 

Omar will play stage at Sing Jazz 2018 along side Incognito and Friends on Sunday Evening. 

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