Cuarto Espacio (Fourth Space) is a quartet of extravagantly musical virtuosos which represent Cuban jazz at its most brilliant, combining elements of salsa, rumba, nueva trova, European classical and of course fusion jazz. This album was recorded in 1994 in Caracas, Venezuela and still sounds ahead of its time.
All nine tracks were written and arranged by Omar Hernandez and Ernan Lopez-Nussa. Tumbania begins the set calmly enough but ends with a spectacular percussion display by guest percussionists Nene and Luis Quintero and co-producer Sammy Figueroa. Sancho, Polka andSon, and Pantera take the listener on a journey of intense musical changes, while solo piano piece Reencuentro provides an oasis of calm and beauty. Tranquilidad and Hay Gritos, both composed and sung by Omar Hernandez, reflect the influence of Silvio Rodriguez, with whom these musicians played for many years.
This group was formed from the reorganization of one of Cuba’s most and beloved groups, Afro-Cuba, which toured the world with Silvio Rodriguez. It was the vision of bassist Omar Hernandez to create a simpler yet more sophisticated group, integrating his music with that of pianist Ernan Lopez-Nussa. They invited guitarist Fernando 'Teo' Calveiro, also of Afro-Cuba, to join them along with teenage drum prodigy Jimmy Branley.
Since recording this album, the members of Cuarto Espacio have parted ways. Omar Hernandez and Fernando Calveiro have continued their careers in South Florida, where Omar has worked with artists such as Arturo Sandoval and Willy Chirino. Jimmy Branley, after touring with Isaac Delgado and NG La Banda, is now one of Los Angeles' hottest drummers and producers, while Ernan Lopez Nussa has maintained a distinguished solo career.
"These musicians have rediscovered and reinvented what has been called "fusion" up to now! There is no longer a word for what we hear on this recording -- they have assigned it new dimensions. The blend of musical languages is simply exceptional." ~ Simón Irizarry