By Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC
I went to a picnic recently at a park in Virginia. It was a lovely day, with giant trees framing views of the Potomac river. That verdant setting reminded me of a disc I hadn’t listened to for a while — “Emerald Pathways,” a 2002 jazz album by American pianist and composer Scott Cossu.
Cossu is getting ready to release a new album this fall called “Lullaby.” “It’s going to be featuring several pieces from my past Windham Hill recordings that are unavailable now because Windham Hill was bought by RCA,” Cossu tells VOA’s Jazz Beat.
“Lullaby” will also showcase five new tunes by the prolific New Age jazz pianist, who in the mid-1970s developed a strong passion for world music.
Cossu studied music at Ohio University. There, he met music teacher Hamza El Din, a renowned Egyptian musician. Hamza, who was best known for his oud-playing, changed Cossu’s direction, and became the biggest influence on his music career.
“I have been juggling many different music of worlds for close to 40 years now because of Hamza El Din,” said Cossu.
“Because of his [Hamza El Din’s] influence, I became a much more prolific composer, realizing and opening my mind up to how to be able to absorb many cultural influences mixed with my own.” Cossu said.
In the mid-1990s, I profiled Scott Cossu on my Jazz Club USA on VOA Arabic. Here’s the show.