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Volcan – Live in Croatia – najbolje od najboljeg

najbolje od najboljeg

U Opatiji se pod motom – ‘Najbolje od najboljeg’ ovoga vikenda održava 15. Liburnia jazz festival. Zato i ne čudi da su posjetitelje počastili koncertom trenutno najveće svjetske jazz atrakcije – grupe Volcan.
Bila je to prava vulkanska erupcija dobre energije. Trenutno najveća svjetska jazz atrakcija, supergrupa Volcan oduševila je posjetitelje svojom improvizacijom, koja se danas smatra samim vrhom ove glazbe.

Ne znam je li to novi stil u jazzu, no mi se trudimo na drukčiji način predstaviti tradiciju, kompoziciju i različite vrste improvizacije i sve ono što o njoj znamo. Svi smo u ovom bendu dijelovi projekta i svi imamo duge i bogate karijere tako da improviziramo na različite načine i stilove glazbe, kaže Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Nije mala stvar nastupiti prij legendi, no ta je čast posve zasluženo pripala mladoj hrvatskoj skupini Chui, koja je već proglašena najoriginalnijim hrvatskim bendom 21. stoljea.


In Concert: Valdés, Rubalcaba and Camilo – By Latin Jazz Network – Jun 29, 2015

Live Report by Guest Author Dave BassChucho-Valdes-Gonzalo-Rubalcaba-Michel-Camilo










What can I say about the outstanding June 21, 2015 concert at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco where three superb pianists – apparently for the first time – appeared together on stage. Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Michel Camilo spent the evening celebrating the intoxicating and eternally gorgeous music of Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona. The pianists played in solo, duo and, as the denoument, a trio.There are so many ways to talk about the music – music that continues to swirl about in my head. Both Chucho and Gonzalo are from Cuba. Michel is from the Dominican Republic. Their ages span about 22 years; Chucho was born in 1941; Camilo in 1954; Gonzalo in 1963. Given that all three are steeped in the Afro-Cuban tradition as well as jazz, their ages make a difference given the musical climates they came of age in. Also, Chucho is very tall, towering over both Camilo and Gonzalo – something easily observable when they stood next to each other on stand. Concomitant to that height, one must assume that reaching all the 10ths on the piano (irrespective of key) and even 12ths is more natural for Chucho than for either Gonzalo or Michel. In some ways, their different physical equipment helps define their musical identities. The presentation was elegant. Michel introduced the evening and played solo; he then introduced Gonzalo with whom he dueted. Michel then left the stage, leaving Gonzaloto play solo. Gonzalo then introduced Chucho with whom he dueted; Gonzalo then left the stage, leaving Chucho to play solo. Finally, Gonzalo and Michel returned to the stage and the three played La Comparsa, taking turns trading choruses (on the first 16 bars), saving the bridge for the finale. As the crowd rose to their collective feet, an encore was imminent – and, indeed, eminent. Veering from the Lecuona program of the evening, the three sat at one piano and had a wonderful romp with Moisés Simons’ 1930 song, El Manisero, known by Marx Brothers fans (see Duck Soup) as The Peanut Vendor. All three pianists have recorded unique versions of El Manisero, adding sophisticated jazz harmonies and, in Gonzalo’s case, playing parts in 7/4, cleverly reversing the clave. There was nothing like that here. The spontaneous playfulness and humor these great musicians exhibited – clowning around worthy of the Marx Brothers themselves – was a delightful finale. Here are a few comments about particulars as I remember them. Michel began the evening with the stately San Francisco El Grande, a challenging piece that so employs the full range of the piano that Lecuona felt compelled to write the piece in three staves. Michel and Gonzalo danced through a delicate duet on the very beautiful Danza Lucumí – which, like many of Lecuona’s pieces has a captivating ostinato bass line. Gonzalo played Malagueña (perhaps Lecuona’s most well-known composition) solo. Gonzalo approached Malagueña with reverence, a gorgeous touch, and subtle harmonic and rhythmic inventions, staying at the upper end of the keyboard for some of the piece’s justly-famous counterpoint. This rendition was especially meaningful to me given that as a young 10-year-old pianist, I played this piece from the sheet music, enjoying the intense drama of the piece. Gonzalo and Chucho played a spirited duet on Gitanerías, trading choruses on the first 16 bars which had an easily identifiable set of changes and a hypnotic 6/8 feel. One way to think of the swirling Cuban music filling Davies Hall is this: Chucho was the magisterial presence – his towering presence seeming to be a synecdoche of his long musical presence – even back to his famous father, Bebo Valdés. Gonzalo, the youngest, was the most forward thinking, experimental, and the most concerned with touch – that elusive element that everyone talks about but is tough to define. Gonzalo is Chopin to Valdés’ Lizst! Michel is a virtuoso in his own right and, both by age and musical sensibility, was a bridge between his younger and older colleagues, expertly dueting with both. Did I mention that this concert took place on my birthday and my attendance was a wonderful present from my lovely wife?

“Tokyo Adagio” available soon!


Chucho Valdes , Michel Camilo and Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Chucho Valdes , Michel Camilo and Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Live in San Francisco – Encore



Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quartet Live at the Blue Note Tokyo – Tribute to Charlie Haden

Blue Note Tokyo!…Our tribute to Charlie Haden with the fabulous Will Vinson, Matt Brewer and Marcus Gilmore …..

Blue Note Tokyo – Shinsetsu ni arigatōgozaimashita – 親切にありがとうございました

BlueNote Tokyo

Rattle has called the Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba “the most gifted pianist on the planet” and is a big fan of Sarah Vaughan.


Simon Rattle: will the maestro return home?


He’s here wowing British audiences, but if we want to tempt the giant of classical music back for good from Germany, we might need to give him a world-class concert hall

It is no overstatement to say that Simon Rattle has had a greater direct impact on the arts worldwide than any other living Brit. No other citizen of this country has climbed the peak of the world’s greatest orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, while bringing young musicians from the destitute barrios of Latin America to play for it. No British city has undergone quite such a resurgence of music as did Birmingham during Rattle’s time there.

For the music writer Norman Lebrecht to call Rattle “the Tony Blair of music” completely misses the point: behind the usual cliches about Rattle’s mop of hair, good looks and geniality lies an intensity with music that last week astounded London audiences hoping he might soon return to take over the London Symphony Orchestra.

But last week Rattle also made noises and waves of a different kind in that regard: making it clear that his enthusiasm for a permanent post in London, which he has never held, would take into consideration his view that the city that claims to be a capital of music boasts no top-class concert hall. He told the BBC that the high-end conditions under which major European orchestras work are “on the wildest edges of science fiction in this country, particularly in London”.

Yet British audiences adore the man born in Merseyside in 1955 probably more than any other conductor. They see him as their own, even though he further suggests that if he did take the post in London he would not live there while his family are settled in Germany. He calls himself “deracinated”, a genuinely, quintessentially European, international citizen. He is a Liverpool fan, but supported both clubs when the Reds travelled to Berlin to play his adopted city’s team, Hertha Berlin.

Logically, then, Rattle calls his heimat of Liverpool a city that “looks seawards, smoked Irish, the offside of the known universe, and it always was”. Yet unlike another Liverpudlian musical superstar – pianist Paul Lewis, who grew up in tough Huyton – Rattle was raised in what he calls “the Jewish, liberal-voting suburbs around Sefton Park”. While Lewis’s father was an unemployed docker, Rattle’s was a Royal Navy commander.

Rattle showed early and remarkable musical talent and brilliance of mind. He describes himself as “a weird duck… an uncomfortable, overweight, intense boy with this huge passion”. As a child, he “went to every possible thing [he] could”, played by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the orchestra then enjoying halcyon days under Sir Charles Groves. It played Europe’s first cycle of Mahler symphonies, with young Rattle in the audience.

At the age of 11, he was pleading with his father to take him on a school night to hear Groves conduct Messiaen’s vast Turangalila symphony: “I met Messaien and got the autograph. I still think it was one of the most thrilling moments of my life.”

Rattle enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music in 1971 and during his graduation three years later won the John Player International Conducting Competition.

Yet the intellectual Rattle remained restless and in 1980 he swerved into an academic year, reading English literature at St Anne’s, Oxford, explaining: “I’d never been to university and I wanted to.” He was happy to discover that he could be “just as moved by Andrew Marvell or Ulysses” as by music.

But then he took, in a way, his most significant if not biggest step: joining and then taking over the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which he transformed into a top-flight ensemble and moved into Britain’s finest concert hall (even if all things are relative).

There, Rattle established the repertoire with which he would change life in Berlin: in addition to a Mahler cycle and the Austro-Germanic staples, there was Dvorak, Bartok, an overwhelming Glagolitic Mass by Janacek and, perhaps above all, Sibelius, whose symphonies he recorded in Birmingham to a level no one has since achieved. It was with Sibelius that Rattle stunned London last week.

So it was with a provincial English orchestra that Rattle showed how vision and inspiration can work in music, and that lured him to Berlin, and Berlin to him, in 2002. His debut with the orchestra had been a performance of Mahler’s devastating 6th Symphony in 1987.

At the heart of German music, however, Rattle’s innovations raised eyebrows among those who put an absolute premium on the core repertoire of Beethoven, Brahms and Wagner. Rattle’s retort has been straightforward: to play both the Germanic and other repertoires with insight, vigour and passion that amounts to genius. Wagner on period instruments, Rameau and French baroque, the Czech and Russian masters, Viennese modernists and contemporary premieres inspired by them – and of course “his” Sibelius. When he brought the Berliners to Liverpool in 2008, he played not what was expected of the Germans, but Turangalia, for old time’s sake.

In 2013, however, Rattle announced that he would not seek to remain in Germany beyond his current contract, which expires in 2018. “Will you still need me when I’m 64,” joked the Scouser, noting his age that year.

The man Rattle beat to the top job in Berlin was Daniel Barenboim, who remains across the Postdamerplatz as director of the Deutsche Oper. It is mind-boggling to imagine them in the same city, just as it will be when and if the LSO’s electrifying incumbent Valery Gergiev and the great Mariss Jansons share Munich, as is likely.

Barenboim has become almost as famous for his work bringing together Israeli and Palestinian musicians into the same orchestra, and Rattle has made his equally indelible mark on the notion of music as peace and liberation. He has been the leading exponent of, guest of, crusader for and unofficial patron of the miracle known in its native Venezuela as El Sistema, whereby young people from some of the poorest barrios are given instruments and redeem their lives by playing.

Their orchestras rank among the world’s finest and their first conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, is a global star. I remember interviewing former crack addicts and child prostitutes about their endeavours with Beethoven and Mahler, and an 11-year-old violinist in El Sistema’s youth orchestra telling me: “Oh, round here it’s more cool to be into Strauss than salsa.”

“El Sistema brings hope, through music, to hundreds of thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost to drugs and violence,” says Rattle, insisting that its founder, José Antonio Abreu, should be awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his work.

Rattle took El Sistema’s ideas back with him to Berlin, as well as the 18-year-old double bass player Edicson Ruiz, the Philharmonic’s youngest-ever recruit, who says: “When I was nine, I didn’t know I would get a meal at night or every day – but I did have a viola.”

Inspired by an entwinement of his outreach work in Birmingham and the model of Venezuela, Rattle launched the Berlin Philharmonic’s first education programme for youth on the city’s frayed edges, something the LSO had pioneered long ago and at which it excels. It should thrive all the more if Rattle arrives.

This passionate interest in music as redemptive life-enhancer rather than just “entertainment” is reflected in the private Rattle, the family man and music lover as well as maker. His romantic life has been a colourful one. He was married first to the American soprano Elaine Ross, with whom he had two sons (one of them, Sacha, is an acclaimed clarinettist), then came the screenwriter and political activist Candace Allen, before Rattle fell madly and mutually in love with Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena, with whom he has two more sons, Jonas and Milos.

At home nowadays, he says: “The jazz records come out a lot. You find that with many musicians – we don’t listen to our own music for relaxation.” Rattle has called the Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba “the most gifted pianist on the planet” and is a big fan of Sarah Vaughan.

He has installed a cinema-size screen in the house, on which his wife catches up with western films by Stanley Kubrick and Werner Herzog that never made it behind the iron curtain, and the maestro himself catches up with any episodes he may have missed while touring of the favourite family series: The Sopranos.


Born Simon Denis Rattle, 19 January 1955 in Liverpool. His father was a commander in the Royal Navy. Studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He has been married three times and has five children.

Best of times He spent 1980-98 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, where he made his reputation, and guided the orchestra to a newly built concert hall. Being appointed the principal conductor of Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has enjoyed countless triumphs.

Worst of times Few professionally – he has had to withstand the occasional jibe from German music critics unhappy with his handling of the national repertoire, but these have been outweighed by praise.

He says “I have no satisfactory answer [to what a conductor does] because whatever you say, the opposite would also be true. It’s to do with controlling and not controlling, allowing and not allowing. It’s essentially to do with balance.”

They say “Simon Rattle does it [Turangalila] perfectly: he understands its primal rhythmic life force, and he and the wonderful Berliners make it a sheer riot of orchestral colour.”

Charles Hazlewood, conductor

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