Born: August 13, 1972 Primary Instrument: Guitar
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, garce 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 America grooves.
After graduating cum lade from The Berklee College of Music, Oscar returned to Barcelona to hone his chops by 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” (2006). In 2005 he 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, 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 has recently toured in Spain 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 guests, Franco Pinna can be heard on bombo legüero and the legendary Gil Goldstein on accordion and piano.
“Peñas is a guitarist with a classy, mahogany hued aesthetic.” Michael Jackson, Downbeat
“There are many excellent CDs released every year in the realm of jazz, but it remains a rare occurrence when an album takes the listener on a unique journey from start to finish. Maybe it's because Oscar Penas, the superb guitar player who wrote all eight compositions on From Now On,”… Ron Netsky, Rochester City Newspaper
From Now On is one of those romantic albums that grasps hold of you quickly. Warm, opening and refreshing—Oscar Penas hopefully won't be an unkept secret from many. From Now On is an album that should be universally praised and rewarded. A definite must listen... Stephan Moore, JazzWrap | A Jazz Music Blog
“Within this special genre, Oscar Peñas is a musician with a special sound.” Ivan Rod, Gaffa.dk
“Oscar Peñas is a musical artist painting from a bold sonic color palette while striking a balance between the organic and vibrant sounds from his native Barcelona and those of the Big Apple.” Brent L. Black, Jazzreview
Oscar's music is inviting and from the soul; finely cultivated and fully realized...his writing and playing have beautiful motion and uniquely sensuous melodies. Esperanza Spalding
“Oscar is a very dedicated musician with a unique sound and creative writing” Luciana Souza
“Oscar Peñas has found a way to merge traditional Spanish music with Jazz in a way that seems totally natural and fresh. He also recorded them in a natural way, without overproducing them, and allowed himself and the players carte blanche to find their own personalities within the music. A rare quality for records that are produced today and makes it unique and refreshing for all listeners.” Gil Goldstein
“Peñas is not a technical guitar player, but more of a sound sculptor...” Budd Kopman, Cadence
“When he soloes, he is spare and to the point” Marc Meyers, All About Jazz
The Return of Astronautus
Tracks: 1. The Return of Astonautus; 2. Super Nona; 3. San Patricio; 4. Hay algo en ti...; 5. Epileg; 6. Nuevos Tiempos; 7. Arres Narg; 8. Medley of the Return
Oscar Penas: Guitar.
Guim G. Balasch: Alto and soprano saxes
Jose A. Medina: Fender rhodes
D-Beat Gonzalez: Acoustic and elec. basses
Mariano Steimberg: Drums
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Taller de Músics, Faculty, Barcelona, Spain, 2000-05 Taught electric and acoustic guitar, beginners to advanced, ages 10- 50 Reading, harmony, repertoire, accompaniment, technique, jazz articulation, improvisation Jazz ensembles. Two jazz ensembles per semester, beginners to intermediate, working on repertoire and improvisation concepts. Ear training. Fixed do system. Beginners. Private Studio, Barcelona, Spain, 1994-97, 2000-05 Taught electric and acoustic guitar, jazz harmony and improvisation, ages 10-50 Related Experience Interpreter (English/Spanish) of Clinics and Master Classes, Spain · Bruce Dunlap. 26 International Jazz Seminar, Taller de Músics, Barcelona, Spain, July 2006 · Ben Monder. 25 International Jazz Seminar, Taller de Músics, Barcelona, Spain, July 2005 · John Scofield. Barcelona Jazz Festival, Barcelona, Spain, November 2004 · Jim Hall. Girona Jazz Festival, Girona, Spain, October 2004 · Scott Henderson. Taller de Músics, Barcelona, Spain, October 2003 Performance Experience Boston Venues Barcelona Venues Spanish Venues Jordan Hall Rutman’s Violins Landmark Center’s Atrium Private Events Barcelona Jazz Festival Mas i Mas Jazz Festival Jamboree Cova del Drac- Jazz Room Nova Jazz Cava Terrassa Sevilla Jazz Festival Bilbaina Jazz Club Be-bop Donosti Sunset Recordings Oscar Peñas Group, The Return of Astronautus, Fresh Sound New Talent 2006 Oscar Peñas Group, Astronautus, Fresh Sound New Talent 2003 Education New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA Master of Music, Jazz Studies-Performance (with Academic Honors), 2007 Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA Bachelor of Music cum laude in Professional Music, 1999 Principal Teachers: Danilo Pérez, Charles Banacos, Brad Shepik, Frank Carlberg, Jon Damian, Mick Goodrick, Allan Chase, Jerry Bergonzi, Luciana Souza, Ed Tomasi and Hal Crook among others. Available hours: Weekdays From 9: 00a.m. through 6:00 p.m. Rates: $50.00 per hour