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Oscar Peñas "Chicken Or Pasta" @ BOP STOP

Featuring Sara Caswell, Motohito Fukushima, and Richie Barshay

October 12 from 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Oscar Peñas

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Spanish guitarist Oscar Peñas and his stellar quartet. Tickets to attend this show are $25 each. This event will not be livestreamed.

Featuring:

  • Oscar Peñas, guitar
  • Sara Caswell, violin
  • Moto Fukushima, electric bass
  • Richie Barshay, drums

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Guitarist/composer/bandleader Oscar Peñas is a Barcelona, Spain native and USA citizen. Peñas started taking guitar lessons at eight and got acquainted with jazz at seventeen. At twenty-one, he left the law school for his "mistress," music, and at twenty-four, he moved to Boston, where he graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1999 and New England Conservatory of Music in 2007. Since then, he has lived in NYC.

Peñas' innovative compositions, whose training began with classical studies and later progressed to jazz, have won the USA's press and audiences' attention, attracting a wide variety of fans through its unique combination of different grooves over the American jazz base. He leads his band with harmonic imagination and authenticity, writing his original compositions with minimalistic and sensitive musical strokes and exchanging spontaneous creativity with his bandmates. Though his early work was rooted in bebop, he developed a more personal style thanks to a few conversations with the latest pianist Cecil Taylor in 2008, who advised him to embrace his cultural heritage. Subsequently, Peñas began crossing jazz with Iberian, South American, and classical strains.

He has a precise finger-picking technique that is not showy. It gives his fellow band members space and shows all its artistry work, retaining considerable humility that remains no less impactful. Frequently, he creates arrangements using the guitar, resulting in a sonic mix that always keeps clarity for density and volume despite the added layers of complexity. His compositions are visual with a story tale and improvisation. Oscar's clever musical experimentation is the essence of his style. His diverse use of different genres to express ideas beyond those in his writings creates extraordinary musical experiences through novelty and particular artistic excellence when performing with his band. Peñas' intuition and ear drive him into an amalgam of melodies aiming for the unexpected.

Oscar does not look for cohering to a single signature style sharing his five recordings with renowned American jazz masters such as Gil Goldstein, Paquito D'Rivera, Esperanza Spalding, and Ron Carter, a singularity in writing for non-traditional instrumentation in jazz. As an independent artist who always self-produces his work, it is astonishing to see Oscar's access to the USA's best venues to showcase his work, such as the Kennedy Center, BAM Next Wave Festival, and Strathmore, to mention a few.

Oscar's latest album, "Almadraba" (2022), features legendary bassist Ron Carter. It is available in limited edition, stamped with Peñas' signature. It is a collector’s item, only in vinyl and digital formats. The work is Peñas' first arranged jazz-classical suite for a jazz and string quartet. "Almadraba" world premiered at BAM Next Wave Festival in 2018.

“Chicken or Pasta” is the new album featuring Oscar’s recurrent quartet and special guests Mike Stern and Greg Leisz; this is Peñas’ sixth self-produced album as a leader and will feature Sara Caswell, violin (second recording together), Motohito Fukushima, electric bass (third recording together). And Richie Barshay, drums (the four recordings together). The interaction between the band is effortless; the band members understand the music and Oscar’s intricate melodies and writings throughout the time, and they share the stage and the recording studios. All the band members are NY residents. Guitarist Mike Stern and pedal steel guitar legend Greg Leisz are guests on the CD. Oscar Peñas’ discography can be found on his website for purchase.

https://oscarpenas.com

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Violinist Sara Caswell is from Bloomington, Indiana, USA. Rooted in early exposure to various musical genres, Sara's technical facility, intertwined with her gift for lyricism, continues to attract attention to her artistry as a jazz soloist, sideman, and teacher, currently on faculty at Berklee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. She was raised in a musical family and began playing violin at age 5—a graduate of Indiana University. In 2006 Sara completed her M.M. in Jazz Violin at the Manhattan School of Music. Sara has been performing with Oscar Peñas at different prestigious venues since 2013 and is part of Peñas' albums "Music of Departures and Returns" [2014] and “Chicken or Pasta” [2023].

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He was born in Kobe, Japan, and is based in NYC. Moto Fukushima Berklee College of Music graduate is a six-string bass player, composer, and shamisen player. In his jazz improvisations, he studies Western Classical music, Japanese traditional music, and the African-inspired musical sensibilities of South American tunes. Moto's playing is a fantastic combination of finesse, subtlety, and power, as seen in his performances as a sideman with many other artists. Moto has enjoyed playing with Oscar Peñas since 2011, and he is part of three of Peñas' album recordings, "From Now On" [2011], "Music of Departures and Returns" [2014], and “Chicken or Pasta” [2023].

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Richie Barshay, Born in Connecticut, has recorded over 80 albums as a sideman and two self- produced albums. Based in Northampton, MA, he is an AmSAT-certified Alexander Technique teacher and maintained a private practice. Barshay and Oscar have been performing together since 2009. Richie is on four of Peñas’ albums, "From Now On” [2011], "Music of Departures and Returns” [2014], “Almadraba" [2022], and “Chicken or Pasta” [2023].

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Oscar Peñas
Oscar Peñas "Chicken Or Pasta" @ BOP STOP

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