Jazz guitarist and composer Oscar Peñas epitomizes a new wave of emerging artists who are an integral part of New York’s flourishing music scene. Born in Barcelona, Spain and residing permanently in New York, his compositions transcend and yet merge different genres, cultures and styles with fluidity, grace and power. His style has been described at WNYC as “transnational cool”. Although his music can be called “jazz,” it crosses the boundaries of traditional music labeling, blending the idiom through original compositions with hints of flamenco and South American grooves.
After graduating cum laude in 2005 from Berklee College of Music, Oscar returned to Barcelona to hone his chops by teaching at his former school Taller de Músics and performing in Festivals and local jazz venues. He recorded his first two albums with The Oscar Peñas Group for the label Fresh Sound New Talent: “Astronautus” (2003) and “The Return of Astronautus” (2005), and returned to the USA to earn his Masters degree in Jazz Studies at the New England Conservatory where he studied with Danilo Perez and Charlie Banacos among others. After graduation, Oscar made New York his home.
Since moving to Gotham, Peñas has been engaged in teaching privately and playing in a variety of venues including the BAM Café, Tea Lounge, Bargemusic, Trumpets, Fat Cat, Bar Next Door, Jazz Standard, and 55 Bar, with A-list musicians: Ralph Alessi, Jason Palmer, Gil Goldstein, Richie Barshay, Dan Blake, Javier Vercher, Francisco Mela, Henry Cole, Kendrick Scott to name few. He toured in Spain, France and Colombia and performed at the Jazz Plaza in Habana Cuba’s Jazz Festival in December of 2010.
In November 2011, he released his third album, the self-produced tome, “From Now On” with the Brooklyn based indie label BJUR, a musicians collective dedicated to supporting cutting-edge composers and players during this period of transition in the music industry. The new album includes Richie Barshay on drums and percussion, Dan Blake on saxes, Moto Fukushima on six string electric bass. As special guests, Franco Pinna can be heard on bombo legüero and the legendary Gil Goldstein on accordion and piano.