Archive for the ‘Live Performances Photos’ Category

Summer Tour – Volcan!

Controtemp – Foto Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Piano Jazz – 3 maggio 2016


Photos by Alice BL Durigatto

Grazie Mille Italia !

Fazioli … Tremendo Pianoforte!


Georgia Today – International Jazz Day – Easter Gift from the Ministry of Culture – May 5- 2016 – Maka Lomadze


Georgia Today – They say there are very few countries where so many youngsters go to jazz concerts as they do in Georgia. This is the victory of Georgian jazzmen who risked their lives and positions, who did not fear the Soviet years and held jazz concerts from the late 1970s. The tradition is continued by the latest generation. In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30th as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people from all corners of the globe. In Georgia, International Jazz Day was also marked.

The event to celebrate International Jazz Day, a concert featuring ‘Volcan,’ was supported by the US Embassy in Georgia, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and Tbilisi City Hall. The world-famous band ‘Volcan’ unites Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Grammy-award winning Afro-Cuban Pianist, Joze Armando Gola on bass, and Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernandez on drums – Cuban musicians following in the footsteps of their countrymen Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Ignacio Berroa, and others, creating a multicolored and rich musical heritage within the last 5 years, included in around 150 albums.

As a prologue to the main show, at the Event Hall, the Orchestra of the National Plural Guards under the Armed Forces performed such popular jazz hits as: ‘In the Mood’ by Joe Garland, ‘Blue Rondo a La Turke’ by Dave Brubeck, and ‘Cantaloupe Island’ by Herbie Hancock.

“We all want to live in a jazz world where we all work together, improvise together, and are not afraid of taking chances and expressing ourselves,” says Herbie Hancock, jazz guru, co-founder of the International Jazz Day, and Ambassador of Goodwill of UNESCO.

Entrance to the gig was free. “Since 2014, the Ministry has been an organizer and initiator of the Day,” Giorgi Aptsiauri, Head of the Culture Popularization Division under the Ministry of Culture told us. “This year, there was a record in terms of the number of countries which marked the Day – 196 in total. We invited representatives of the central authorities, diplomats, central and regional musicians to the Tbilisi concert,” he said, going on to reveal a fantastic piece of news: “We have received e-mails from UNESCO informing us that Tbilisi is being discussed in the first category of potential venues for the next International Jazz Day. If not in 2017, hopefully, this will happen in 2018.”

”It is already a ritual to celebrate International Jazz Day annually. This is our victory,” said Gaioz Kandelaki, ‘godfather’ of jazz in Georgia. “Where before I was coming to jazz concerts with my friends, now one of them has brought his grand-daughter with him. Even back in 1989, when we had a festival in Tbilisi, we saw great interest from the Georgian youth, however, due to the subsequent wars, it fell out of the schedule. Now, we have two great festivals (Tbilisi and Black Sea) that are included in the lists of many civilized countries.”

GEORGIA TODAY also spoke to Dini Virsaladze, famous female jazz pianist: “Rubalcaba is one of my favorite performers. He was here quite recently and gave a great concert and a master-class. I’m very happy that this time he is with a band who are stars in their own right.”

This was the 5th anniversary since Irina Bokova and Herbie Hancock founded the International Jazz Day. The hub of the event was Washington DC and namely the White House, where President Obama and the First Lady of the United States hosted outstanding global stars: Herbie Hancock, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Al Jarreau, Hugh Masekela, and others. From this list, almost all have been to Tbilisi.

The first International Jazz Day was held in 2012 in Paris, New York and New Orleans, annually shifting its central place in different cities of the world, hosting galas ample with legendary jazz musicians, singing about peace, tolerance and freedom. Last year, the Japanese city Osaka hosted the main occasion dedicated to the International Jazz Day. Which city will be the next – Tbilisi?



5Passion Releases


A Cuban Flamenco Round Trip With Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández – By Andrew Gilbert MARCH 7, 2016

A Cuban Flamenco Round Trip With Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández




Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Spanish vocalist Esperanza Fernández meet in Oh Vida! (Courtesy: the artist)


MARCH 7, 2016


In Spain, the expression ida y vuelta refers to a style of flamenco that absorbed Latin American influences and returned to the motherland. Translated literally as “roundtrip songs,” these tunes flowed most prolifically from Cuba, intersecting with rumba and guajiras.

But the collaboration between Cuban piano maestro Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Spanish flamenco star Esperanza Fernández involves a different kind of journey. Their project Oh Vida! — which concludes the 11th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival at the Herbst Theater on Wednesday, March 9 — celebrates the enduring influence of Cuban sonero Beny Moré(1919-1963) and Andalusian flamenco cantaor Manolo Caracol (1909-1973). Rather than making a round trip, Oh Vida! creates a new realm by revealing fervid emotional terrain via the shared improvisational imperative in jazz, son and flamenco.

Oh Vida! doesn’t present the music of Moré and Caracol as separate entities. As the project’s music director and arranger, Rubalcaba has spent nearly two years researching, pondering and designing a program that weaves together songs associated with Moré and Caracol, two supremely charismatic artists who redefined their respective art forms.

“Sometimes we’re listening to Beny Moré in the frame of flamenco harmonies together with Cuban rhythms and then you hear Caracol at the end of a song, like the Beny Moré hit ‘Como Fue,’” says Rubalcaba, 52. “The main purpose to make that sound natural, which is the most difficult thing. From the moment that I started working with this idea I found a lot of points in common, a lot of doors opened.”

During the golden age of Cuban music from the 1930s to the 1950s, when Havana’s torrid night life accelerated the evolution of styles and rhythms that swept the world (particularly son cubano, mambo and cha cha cha), Moré was at the center of the action. “Beny did everything — boleros, sonesmontunosguajiras,” Rubalcana says. “He made a recording with Orquesta Aragon singing cha cha cha. He tried many different styles and was a champion of everyone. Often you see people able to transmit a powerful lyric, a bolero, but they’re not powerful doing son, but he was able to do everything.”

Like so many flamenco stars, Caracol was born into a musical dynasty. Steeped in the music’s Gypsy roots, he was also one of the art form’s great crossover artists who reached an international audience in the 1940s performing with dancer, singer and actress Lola Flores. Some flamenco purists disdained his popular work, and his extravagant carousing damaged his reputation, but no one contested the extraordinary power of his voice.

At first glance, the intensity and anguish of Caracol’s flamenco might not seem to share much in common with Moré’s often playful and wise-cracking sones, but Nina Mendendez says that a deeper look reveals commonalities. “Flamenco has a whole area that’s incredibly humorous and playful, but it’s not what we hear about,” says the Bay Area Flamenco Festival’s founder and artistic director. “The art form is full of anguish and the darker side, but a very important part is the humorous side, which makes sense when you think of humor as a coping device in hard times.”

The collaboration between Rubalcaba and Fernández, who gave an incendiary performance at last year’s Flamenco Festival, grew out of a brief encounter in Seville a few years ago. Paired to perform in the documentary film Playing Lecuona, a musical celebration of the great Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, Rubalcaba came to the session largely unfamiliar with Fernández’s work.

“I knew her name, because she was already an important figure in flamenco,” he says. “I remember it took us about half an hour to understand the form and structure of Lecuona’s ‘Malagueña,’ and I was in love with the way she transmitted the music, the sound and power of the voice. There’s something chemical when you see somebody playing or doing art, and you connect or you don’t.”

Despite their evident chemistry, Rubalcaba didn’t foresee further collaboration until Fernández approached him and suggested exploring the music of Moré and Caracol. The project premiered Friday, March 4 at the Flamenco Festival Miami; Wednesday’s Herbst Theatre concert is the second-ever Oh Vida! performance. Featuring a percussionist from both traditions and a bassist, it proves to be a rhythmically charged encounter that honors the departed masters by creating something new.

“The first part of the process was to listen to them as much as we can, and then get divorced from that,” Rubalcaba says. “We don’t want to risk repeating what they did. We need to know what they did, but with a lot of respect find a way to combine rhythms and sounds — cajón, palmas, congas and bongos — and a vocabulary that goes from flamenco to jazz to Cuban music.”


Esperanza Fernandez and Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Malagueña




Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Gonzalo Rubalcaba, lecturer in the Department of Studio Music and Jazz, is a multi- Grammy Award and Latin Grammy Award-winning Cuban jazz pianist and composer who began studying classical piano, and drums, at age eight. He earned a degree in music composition from Havana’s Institute of Fine Arts in l983 and played in clubs and music halls in Havana. One of the most important and virtuosic Afro-Cuban jazz pianists on the scene today, he first garnered international jazz attention when Dizzy Gillespie discovered him in 1985. Soon after he began appearing regularly at major jazz festivals like Montreux and Montreal. He emigrated to the USA in 1993, and settled in South Florida in 1996. Today he enjoys a balance of touring, recording and teaching. His illustrious career has included recording with his own groups for several major labels including 11 albums for Blue Note, and also with jazz luminaries Ignacio Berroa, Ron Carter, Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Charlie Haden, David Sanchez, and many more. He has been nominated twice for Billboard’s Latin Jazz Album of the Year.

Photo by Mario Garcia Joya

Playing Lecuona

El pianista y compositor cubano Gonzalo Rubalcaba aspira a mostrar este sábado en Rusia algunas creaciones de jazzistas del continente americano que considera referentes culturales ineludibles.

Invitado de lujo del festival Koktebel Jazz Party, Rubalcaba tendrá a su cargo el cierre del espectáculo de esta noche y cumplirá el encargo junto a su banda Volcán, creada hace solo dos años.

Mi idea es no perder de vista la música realizada hoy en día pero también destacar la que han hecho algunos compositores del área que a nuestro juicio siguen siendo referencia cultural importante y continúa motivando a jóvenes, comentó en declaraciones a Prensa Latina.

El programa de Volcán incluye piezas de compositores de Cuba, Brasil y Estados Unidos, entre otros, así que en el concierto de esta noche -según adelantó el maestro- interpretará obras del brasileño Chico Buarque y el cubano Chucho Valdés, además de las propias.

Quisiéramos mostrar el lado más contemporáneo de piezas que existen desde hace tres o cuatro décadas y merecen seguirse difundiendo por el mundo, sostuvo.

Rubalcaba está considerado una de las principales figuras del jazz afrocubano y un virtuoso por excelencia, como prueba de ello en el festival ruso tocará simultáneamente en dos pianos aunque él lo ve como una necesidad para su actual banda de pequeño formato.

Cuando comencé con Volcán, retomé la habilidad de tocar al mismo tiempo un piano electrónico junto al tradicional porque añade una estética nueva desde el punto de vista sonoro gracias a lo que ofrece la tecnología, comentó.

Por otra parte, expande la sonoridad del cuarteto que al estar conformado por dos percusionistas, un bajista y yo, su único elemento melódico es el piano, detalló el director.

Al maestro le entusiasma una reciente propuesta de presentar a Volcán en el próximo Festival Internacional de Jazz de Cuba, conocido como el Jazz Plaza, y tratará de acomodar su agenda para participar.

El festival Koktebel Jazz Party cuenta esta noche con Rubalcaba y Volcán, el célebre saxofonista italiano Stefano di Battista, y la formación inglesa Red Square Band, muy elogiada por la crítica mundial, entre otros distinguidos artistas.

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