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Miami, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Miami, Florida, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band World Jazz





Haiti’s rich musical tradition has given to the world many gifted artists and musicians, and Jowee Omicil is no exception. His mastery of just about every wind instrument turns his latest album Roots and Grooves into a musical world journey from Afro-jazz to Haitian kompa to soul.

Born in Canada to Haitian parents, Omicil was first introduced to music by his father, a minister. His sister played the organ in church and his brother the trumpet, so Omicil chose to play the saxophone.

"That was always his dream. He wanted a symphony," Omicil says about his father's efforts to have all of his children play in the church band.

But Omicil's passion for the sax developed into much more than an after-school hobby. He began practicing for hours every day and has never stopped since, turning music into a career. Now Omicil can play everything from the saxophone to the flute and even the piccolo.

"I like to experiment because I always try to create something, so I always want to learn — I am learning every day basically," he tells Tell Me More host Michel Martin.

His experiment of mixing different instruments and styles has made each of the 15 tracks on the album a story to remember. Going back to his Haitian roots, he has dedicated one of the songs to the people of Haiti: "4 My People." Omicil, who now lives in Miami, says he has been deeply affected by the plight of his people.

"I'm not good. I'm not good, because my people are suffering," he says.

But Omicil says he hopes the past weekend's presidential election in Haiti — , with many of the 18 candidates alleging fraud — will bring about change.

"I want to hope that every single person that's running for office right now — the presidency — should have the people at heart," he adds.

Omicil says he's a fan of presidential candidate — and fellow musician — Michel Martelly, also known as "Sweet Micky," who has worked to energize the youth vote. - Michel Martin

"Soul Tracks"

Haiti is never far from saxophonist Jowee Omicil's mind. Omicil is Canadian born and of Haitian descent, and he's been profoundly affected by the events that have taken place in that island nation over the last two years. Omicil wrote the song "4 My People" in 2008 as a tribute to those affected by the massive flooding that killed scores of people. An even larger tragedy struck the island nation this year when a massive earthquake killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians. So when Omicil prepared to release the very good Roots & Grooves this year, it made sense to include "4 My People." While "4 My People" is dedicated to the residents of Omicil's native land, the music of the Caribbean and Africa infuse the entire album.

Roots & Grooves is a jazz album that follows in the tradition of artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz greats in taking the music back to its roots - namely Africa . Like his jazz predecessors, Omicil proves that he is equally capable of fusing jazz with world music from Haiti , Cuba and the African continent. The songs on Roots & Grooves feature traditional percussion instruments. Drums and deep bass grooves that harken back to the island and Africa give Roots & Grooves a strong world music component. Meanwhile, the inspired and creative soloing that can be heard on tunes such as "Wole" and "Micky's Groove" definitely marks Roots & Grooves as a jazz album. Omicil opts for the clarinet on the jaunty "Micky's Groove," and that gives the tune a feel that is both pensive and playful.

It is sometimes easy to forget that influence that the Caribbean and Africa have played on our culture - and especially our music. That forgetting has been aided and abetted by the fact that music education in our schools is nowhere near as strong as it once was. On Roots & Grooves, Jowee Omicil makes a compelling musical point that the music of the Caribbean and ultimately Africa are the root of the many grooves that make up American music - and the acknowledgement of that debt sounds just great.

Notable Tracks: 4 My People, Wole, Min Yo, Ayibobo

Vocals: N/A
Lyrics: N/A
Music: 3.5
Production: 3.5
Soultracks call: Recommended

By Howard Dukes - Howard Dukes


*(New York) – Saxophone and winds master Jowee Omicil is in possession of what is simply one of the most soothing, soulful and spiritual sounds that his instruments of choice have ever rendered.

Following several fruitful semesters of teaching students on all levels – from grade school to university – Jowee is focusing on getting out and performing the music of his amazing sophomore CD, Roots & Grooves, for the people he loves…which means everybody!

The Montreal-born musician of Haitian descent had the distinct honor of being invited to perform for the White House’s inaugural observation of Haitian Flag Day on May 18, sharing the enveloping sound of his alto and soprano saxophones and clarinet for 150 VIP guests. The son of a father who was both a minister and professor of philosophy, Jowee (pronounced like “Joey”) believes his calling to music has a higher purpose.

“There’s a song on my CD titled ’4 My People’ that I wrote for the flood victims in Haiti,” he shares. “I have since rededicated it also to the earthquake victims. That melody is what I wanted them to hear. Haitians are of African origin and Africa is the mother of civilization. Therefore, ultimately, the song is for the world…which pretty much describes all of my music. It’s simple and spiritual…precisely what I want them to feel for the journey I am taking them on. I believe firmly in music as therapy.”

The spellbinding musical journey of Roots & Grooves incorporates musicians and technicians spanning four continents – from Africa and Haiti to Madagascar and Japan to Cuba and back to the United States. The music features Jowee’s literal “voice” singing his lilting chants and hooks, as well as his “voice” on woodwinds, an assured and righteously pure tone destined to make believers of listeners `round the globe. Equally inspired by the folk melodies of his culture, the freedom of jazz, the reverence of gospel and all manner of soul-replenishing groove, Jowee stirs it all together into an irresistible brew.

“My father Joseph was adamant about me taking up a wind instrument,” Jowee shares.

“He already had a pianist in his church and it was always his dream to have a symphony of his own. In the Bible, David was a trumpet player. In my music, I am always searching for ways to honor my father – a black man in a not-always-supportive Canada who raised five children on his own while working and studying to become a respected professor and mentor. So I firmly believe that the saxophone became my instrument to minister to the world…and I do not take that mission lightly.” -


Jowee Omicil D I S C O G R A P H Y

As a leader-producer

Naked, 2014

Roots & Grooves, 2009

Lets Do This, 2006

As a sideman/co-producer-arranger-composer

Paco Sery (Cote dIvoire), The Real Life, 2013

Emeline Michel (Haiti), Quintessence, 2013

Mimi Spence (Brooklyn, NY), Freedomology, 2012

Francisco Mela (Cuba), Tree of Life, 2011

Sally Nyolo (Cameroun), La Nuit A Febe, 2011

Karyjazz (Haiti), Yanvablue, 2011

Chyco Simeon (Martinique/Guadeloupe), Ozanam 2011

Belo (Haiti), Haiti Debout, 2011

Black Dada (Haitian-American), Sweet Micky 2010

Beethova Obas (Haiti), Futur 2010

David Pastorius (U.S.), Sense of Urgency 2009

Pepe Bayard (Haiti), Allstars of the Caribbean 2009

Phantoms (Haiti), Oxygen, 2009

Belo (Haiti), Reference, 2008

Markus Schwartz (Denmark), Tanbou Nan Lakou Brooklyn/Haitian Drums in the Brooklyn              Yard, 2008

Jude Charles (Haiti), My Guitar, 2007

Voices of Romances (U.S), Forever My Love, 2006

Beethova Obas (Haiti), Kem Poze, 2003  


DVD/Blu Ray videos

Marvin Sewell (U.S), Live in NYC, 2010

Roy Hargrove & RH Factor (U.S), Live Burghausen, Germany, 2005



Multi instrumentalist-composer-educator-producer Jowee (pron. Joey) Omicil brings a novel and distinctly Afro-Haitian perspective to his music.  He's part of a growing cadre of Caribbean-descended artists bringing new flavors to the creative music spectrum.  Jowee possesses a distinctive, soulful and spiritual sound on saxophones and flutes that extends to his clarinet and harmonica ventures.

Jowee Omicil, Tenor Sax

Jean Phi Dary, Keyboards

Felix Sabal Lecco, Drums

Alune Wade, Bass

Herve Samb, Guit.


Band Members