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Gonzalo Rubalcaba in Malta with Al DI Meola -2012

Fotos by Mercury News

The Birmingham Times – Musical Notes- Written By Esther Callens- Thursday, 14 June 2012


There is a wonderful new collection available for the fans of Afro-Cuban music. XXI Century by Grammy Award winning pianist and composer Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a two disc set of some really great music.  The maestro of the ivories, Rubalcaba, has most certainly blown the roof off with this collection.
Gonzalo Rubalcaba was born in Havana, Cuba to a musical family in the early sixties. His father was a musician and their house was often visited by numerous entertainers.  This perhaps piqued his interest in music. In referencing Rubalcaba, his press release states, “In a career that has spanned 25 years and nearly 30 releases, including a string of acclaimed recordings for the prestigious Blue Note label, Cuban piano virtuoso Gonzalo Rubalcaba has awed critics and fans alike with his prodigious technique and depth of soul as a composer. On XXI Century, his second recording on his 5Passion imprint, Rubalcaba lets his Afro-Cuban roots bubble to the top while also paying tribute to two heroes in Bill Evans and Lennie Tristanto.”
Concerning XXI, it states, “ While Gonzalo and crew exhibit near telepathic interplay on more subdued fare like Evans’ gorgeous “Time Remembered” Brewer’s rubato “Anthem” and  (Paul) Bley’s zen-like swinger “Moor(e)”, the energy level spikes on Rubalcaba originals like “Nueva Cubana”, “Oshun” and “Son XXI”, all of which expertly blend Cuban folkloric elements with daring jazz improvisation. (Pedro) Martinez also lends his stirring vocals on the folkloric “Oshun,” which conjures up an authentic Santeria ritual with Rubalcaba’s subtle synth seasonings on top and he stretches out in a jazzy vein on an irrepressibly swinging interpretation of Tristano’s “Lennie’s Pennies,” revealing yet another aspect of his multi-cultural virtuosity.”
Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a rare talent who has evolved in the jazz genre. He is at the forefront taking control of the helm of the Afro-Cuban music industry.


Gonzalo Rubalcaba to play at Carnegie Hall December 4th and Dec 8th, 2012 Tickets on sale now…

Voices from Latin America

A citywide festival celebrating Latin America’s music and arts.

From the irresistible rhythms of Afro-Cuban jazz to the sophistication of Brazilian samba, from the passionate intensity of Mexican rancheras to the infectious joy of Venezuela’s El Sistema social-action movement, Latin American culture has captured the world’s imagination. Festival artists include Gilberto Gil, Chucho Valdés, Gustavo Dudamel, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Voces de América Latina

Un festival en la ciudad de Nueva York celebrando la música y las artes de América Latina.

Desde los irresistibles ritmos del jazz afrocubano hasta la sofisticación de la samba brasileña; de la intensa pasión de las rancheras mexicanas a la alegría contagiosa del movimiento de acción social venezolano El Sistema, la cultura latinoamericana ha capturado la imaginación del mundo. Los artistas del festival incluyen a Gilberto Gil, Chucho Valdés, Gustavo Dudamel, y Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba plays Herbst Theatre on June 9 By Richard Scheinin San Jose Mercury News

By Richard Scheinin San Jose Mercury News

Since coming on the scene in the 1980s, Cuban-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba has astonished listeners with his Tatum-esque chops. He can play anything exquisitely, from bebop to boleros, and you just know he could toss off a dozen Chopin etudes if he chose to do so.

Steeped in his native country’s folk forms and rhythms, this conservatory-trained monster musician will give a solo recital Jan. 9 in San Francisco, part of the SFJAZZ Spring Season.

The performance is 8 p.m. at Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco. Tickets: $25-$65; 866-920-5299 or

Rudolfinum opanuje hvězdné muzikantské duo Al Di Meola a Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Autor: OB

Rudolfinum opanuje hvězdné muzikantské duo Al Di Meola a Gonzalo Rubalcaba

V pátek 11. května zahraje v pražském Rudolfinu unikátní muzikantské duo: slavný americký kytarista Al Di Meola a excelentní kubánský pianista Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Koncert se koná v rámci cyklu Jazz Meets World.

Al Di Meola je již třicet let plodným skladatelem i uznávaným interpretem. Má na kontěvícenež dvacet vlastních alb. Jeho uměleckou dráhu tvoří především živá vystoupení, v současné době především s jeho vlastním souborem World Sinfonia.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba a Al Di Meola

Meola prošel nejednou vysoce respektovanou hudební formací, například uskupením Tour de Force s Janem Hammerem, mezinárodně proslulým triem s virtuózními kytarovými kolegy Johnem McLaughlinem a Pakem de Luciou, a samozřejmě stylotvornou jazzrockovou skupinou Return To Forever Chicka Corey.

Pianista Gonzalo Rubalcaba je držitelem čtyř cen Grammy, na osm jich byl nominován.Získali řadu dalších ocenění pocelémsvětě. Umění Gonzala Rubalcaby se vyvíjí a stále nalézá inspiraci v afrokubánském odkazu, který nasával před svou emigrací přímo od zdroje na castrově “Ostrově svobody”.



New Photos by my friend Siimons – All Rights Reserved

The Urban Flux – Gonzalo Rubalcaba – XXI CENTURY – 5Passion, 2012 by Rob Young


The Urban Flux – Gonzalo Rubalcaba – XXI CENTURY – 5Passion, 2012 by Rob Young

Unknown by most of us at the time, the unanticipated arrival of soon to be Grammy Award winning pianist Gonzalo Julio Gonzalez Fonseca nativeCuban landed on the shores of US some twenty-five years ago. Since then of course pianist, improviser and songwriter recorded dozens of jazz recordings to his credit. With his latest project, the multi-facet virtuoso embarks on an unequalled journey with enchanting lyricism in the spirit of innovation he unleashes the exhilarating “XXI Century.” On this outing, his compositions swells from the womb of his beloved Afro-Cuban heritage and merges these voicings within the body of ten sumptuous and ambitious songs to pay tribute to two piano icons Bill Evans and Lennie Tristanto gives me reason to believe this is probably his best recording to date.

Gonzalo is accompanied by five extraordinary musicians featuring bassistMatt Brewer, drummer Marcus Gilmore, and percussionist Pedro “Pedtrito”Martinez with special guest and native Cuban Ignacio Berrora on drums also esteemed guitarist Lionel Loueke supply the gifts, talent and precision on Gonzalo’s latest project on 5Passion.

Once I listen, and re-focused my thoughts the opening lines and phrases on “Nueva Cabana” the melodies grew on me with its intoning utterances shaped by its unbridled complexity. With optimism underscored with Gonzalo’s uncanny approach to telling his version of story with unmatched intricacies of modern jazz and improvisation unlike his colleagues. In fact, his melodically exquisite tenor expressed on “Time Remembered” was originally pened by piano master Bill Evans. Gonzalo’s delicate voice echoes the sentiments of Evans immediately. For the moment, like a gust of wind he unveils quite voicings through shaded octaves of lush and transparent tones with brilliance.

The ensemble sets a new standard in modern jazz with the hypnotic “Fifty.” Pen by Rubalcaba this infectious groove features non-other than international guitar sensation Lionel Loueke. The band digs deep to release some seriously tasty beats, riffs and pulsating rhythms that are simply off the rector-scale sonically.

Known for his intuitive playing, vision and acclaimed writing skills the soulful Gonzalo and company irresistible interplay are explore on “Anthem and Oshun.” The stretch their preverbal voices by communicating with flurries of transcending melodies, rhythms and brogue of unpredictable tones are manifested from the center outward on these limpid compositions.

Disc II rolls out with a Paul Bley composition titled “Moor.” With much anticipation, Gonzalo accompanied by the fearless ensemble cease the opportunity to intercede with their collective voices and cry out with a symphony of abstract and improvisation squawks gain ground and allows space for the art of swing to intervene and flush out any unknown obscurities.
“Son XXI” written by bimodal composer Enrique Ubieta enters through the gate of stories without words in samba chant with a parade of percussive and rhythmically challenging tones exceed the boundaries yet the tempo remains atoned to Afro-Cuban rumba musings without missing a beat.

Guitarist Lionel Loueke pens the lyrical “Alagia.” Very few guitarists are expressive as Loueke as soloist and composer, his timbre on this song oozes with alluring harmonics ordained by his imaginative artistry. Like most songs here, the focal point is clearly measured by the sobering temperature of this culture retains the wealth of its expressive tonality that’s fresh, stimulating and intriguing.

The ubiquitous pearls of “Lennie’s Pennies” follows, meanwhile the ensemble gains momentum led by Gonzalo’s virtuosity on piano and complex arrangement. Picture this, his fingers dance with singular, unhurried scales and shifting bop sequences shape this ten-plus minute gem to reveal a stunning piece of artistry.

Rubalcaba revisits “Oshun (the short version)” to conclude this picturesque collection of music. Even after the first episode of “Oshun,” you can’t help but be liberated by this gem knowing it is snapshot of his multi-culture lineage where percussion, rhythm and extensive drumming are the centerpiece on this “folkloric” canvas sprayed with every aspect of his Cuban heritage is totally unique listening experience.

With “XXI Century,” pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba consummate voice progresses through the conduit of his expansive vision, maturity and unyielding passion clearly gives him an advantage as pianist, composer and producer. This album documents a healthy balance of modern jazz, Latin and accessible improvisation for jazz enthusiast to quench their ongoing thirst and savor the superior compositions and masterful musicianship showcased here is simply unparalleled.

Highly Recommend by Rob YoungUrban Flux Media | Review

Meet the Band:
Gonzalo Rubalcaba – piano
Pedro “Pedtrito” Martinez – percussion
Matt Brewer –bass
Marcus GilmoreIgnacio Berrora (special appearance) – drums
Lionel Loueke – guitar [guest performance]

Track ListingDisc I

Track Listing: Disc II


Produced by Gonzalo Rubalcaba – 5 Passion | Visit, for more information, Bio, and Tour Dates.


Al Di Meola and Gonzalo Rubalcaba at Marciac photo by Fredric THALY

Awesome Photo by Photo by Jean Louis NEVEU

Gonzalo at the Blue Note – Photo by Jerry Lacay

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