Archive for the ‘Critical Acclaim’ Category

Gonzalo Rubalcaba in Salzburg : Solo Piano Recital – Ein Piano Star zu Gast im Odeion…

 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Solo Piano Recital

 

 

Ein Jazz Piano Star zu Gast im Odeion Den zweiten Festivaltag wird Gonzalo Rubalcaba mit einem seiner seltenen Solo Konzerte bestreiten.

Der aus Kuba stammende (* 1963), mittlerweile in den USA lebende Pianist spielt seine Solo-Konzerte sonst eher in großen Konzertsälen wie der N.Y. Carnegie Hall. Rubalcaba, der eine klassische Musikausbildung genossen hat, bezeichnet den Jazz seiner Mentoren Dizzy Gillespie und Charlie Haden sowie die afrokubanische Musiktradition seiner Heimat als seine prägenden musikalischen Einflüsse. Mit seiner bestechenden Virtuosität, seinem ungeheuren rhythmischen, melodischen und harmonischen Einfallsreichtum, seinem nuancenreichen Anschlag und hinreißend singenden Pianissimo zählt Rubalcaba heute zu den Größen des Jazzpianos, in einem Atemzug zu nennen mit Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea und Fred Hersch. Ein Piano Star zu Gast im Odeion… eine kleine Sensation!

“OH Vida” awarded “Vibrant @ 10 Award” by the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami

“OH Vida”  was awarded the “Vibrant @ 10 Award” by the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.  

Photo by Aaron Vazquez and Joao Gonzalez

Photo by Aaron Vazquez and Joao Gonzalez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Oh Vida! – Rubalcaba & Fernández payed tribute to legendary Cuban big bandleader Beny Moré, “El Bárbaro del Ritmo.” Moré’s many unforgettable hits include “Que Bueno Baila Usted” and “Como Fué.” At this performance, a zesty flamenco twist was added to his work when Grammy-winning Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Spanish singer Esperanza Fernández  joined forces to present a new take on a set of classic songs.

Las notas más vitales que musicales del profesor Rubalcaba – MIQUEL JURADO Barcelona 6 NOV 2016 – 09:02 CET

El pianista cubano da una sentida clase magistral en el Festival de Jazz de Barcelona

 1478379232_754896_1478379632_noticia_normal_recorte1
LORENZO DUASO.

No es habitual que en el escenario se instalen tres estudiantes y, mientras tocan su música, uno de los pianistas más importantes hoy los observe atentamente desde un lateral. Serio, con cara de póquer, ni entusiasmado, ni contrariado. Y que después tome el micro y comente la jugada ante la mirada nerviosa y expectante de los jóvenes artistas. No hay suspensos ni recriminaciones, solo comentarios en positivo, incluso más vitales que musicales. Y si la cosa no ha quedado clara, el mismo artista de campanillas se sienta al piano con ellos para mostrarles que el salto adelante es posible.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba (La Habana, 1963) impartió el jueves en el Conservatorio del Liceo una de las clases magistrales incluidas en el Festival de Jazz de Barcelona y no fue una lectura académica; al contrario. El pianista optó por la forma más participativa: tres tríos de estudiantes le tocaron un tema que más que un examen era un trampolín para que después el cubano se abriera en disquisiciones que tanto servían para la música como para cualquier otra actividad creativa.

Rubalcaba defendía la melodía y el sentimiento, hablaba de sus experiencias personales, se confesaba enamorado de las baladas románticas y enemigo visceral de los bateristas (algo inaudito, ya que horas después compartía escenario con el explosivo Jeff Ballard). “Para componer lo importante no es la técnica sino tener algo que decir”, lanzó. “Es imposible convencer a nadie si uno no está convencido de sí mismo”. Algunos alumnos, como mínimo los que tuvieron la suerte de tocar con él, se fueron a casa convencidos. “Guai”, describía después la experiencia uno de los que pisó el escenario.

El segundo trío interpretó un clásico de Charlie Haden Sandino, oportunidad magnífica para que Rubalcaba hablara de su amigo y mentor al que iba a dedicar el concierto de la noche. “Haden creaba su música en términos humanos, de vivir la vida, de percibir los hechos que le rodeaban. Tenía la genialidad de componer melodías muy sencillas y eso no se estudia, se posee”.

Fueron unas palabras que quedaron claras horas después cuando Rubalcaba regresó al mismo escenario acompañado de su cuarteto (con Ballard a la batería) para ofrecer un concierto sensacional en recuerdo de Haden. Fue una reinterpretación de su espíritu: sonaba a Haden pero era distinto. Rubalcaba, más jazzístico y menos latino que otras ocasiones, doblegó su virtuosismo pianístico evitando superficiales fuegos artificiales y, magníficamente acompañado, dejó que las melodías coparan el protagonismo. La magistral versión de La Pasionaria, volcánica y tempestuosa como el Haden más comprometido, valió por todo un festival.

Bolzano Festival Bozen – Konzerthaus – 04 Agosto 2016- 04 Agosto 2016

Kermesse tra le più attese nel panorama culturale estivo mitteleuropeo, il Bolzano Festival Bozen 2016 si è aperto il 28 luglio con un concerto dell’Orchestra Haydn. Proseguirà fino al 3 settembre, con un calendario quotidiano di eventi dedicati: alle orchestre – Accademia Gustav Mahler, Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester e European Union Youth Orchestra – all’”Antiqua” e al pianoforte. Bolzano si sa, è città storicamente legata al Busoni, concorso pianistico internazionale (a giorni inizieranno le preselezioni della sessantunesima edizione). Ed è pensando al pianismo contemporaneo – con uno sguardo al jazz! – che è nata la “rassegna nella rassegna”: il Festival Pianistico Ferruccio Busoni. Siamo stati a Bolzano giovedì 4 agosto per la prima serata: Just piano, improvvisazioni in piano solo di Gonzalo Rubalcaba.Pianista classico per formazione, jazzista per scelta, Rubalcaba è un virtuoso della tastiera. La sua padronanza tecnica è strabiliante, il tocco elegante. Mettendosi in gioco liberamente, senza l’interplay del trio (come in molti suoi progetti), le sue performance in solitario sono di altissimo livello e tensione sonora. Impegnative. Solo ascoltandole con molta attenzione si può realmente comprendere l’originalità dell’idea musicale. Idee che Rubalcaba prende dalla classica, dalle radici della sua America cubana e dal jazz per rielaborarle in un linguaggio personalissimo, nuovo (“Son XXI” è tutto questo e musica del nostro tempo), dove il virtuosismo classico o free è terreno sonoro su cui improvvisare – “Giant Steps” di Coltrane, “First Song” di Charlie Haden… – o giocare con ritmi e melodie cubane come in “El Cadete Constitucional”, “El Manisero”… Due ore di intensa emozione e la musica di Rubalcaba conquista il pubblico. Benvenuto jazz al Bolzano Festival Bozen! Herzlich willkommen!

Maddalena Schito

Volcano Review. Gracias!

13612341_10153739547657864_5449975813556632593_n

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Suite Caminos – Latin Jazz Network – By Raul da Gama – Feb 7, 2016

Suite Caminos (2015)

Suite Caminos (2015)

Latin Jazz Network

Gonzalo Rubalcaba has sojourned all over the topography of music ever since his performing days in Cuba and the rest of the world, and ever since he was discovered by Charlie Haden. He might be said to have blazed brave new trails between Afro-Cuban music and Afro-American. His extraordinary virtuosity as a pianist and his unbridled genius as a musician has been brought forth on a number of recordings from the earliest days to his magnificent album Fé/Faith (5Passion, 2011). Throughout the course of his career the Afro-Cuban idiom has defined his music in overt as well as more subtle ways when he was playing jazz. But on Suite Caminos he delves much deeper into his origins. As a result the music on this album addresses Santeria in a more direct manner.

At first blush it appears that Rubalcaba is less audible on the album. He seems to play less piano, a tad more keyboards than on other albums including on that seminal recording Mi Gran Pasion (Messidor, 2008). But this is more an album about Rubalcaba the composer and that too one exploring the depth of his African rhythmic side. Moreover returning to his African roots Rubalcaba has crafted a work of greater significance than anything he might have done in his entire career. Suite Caminos translates literally as “The Roads Suite” but a slightly metaphorical view of the music tells of the “routes” that Rubalcaba has travelled all his life including that part that involved not so much music as the worship of African deities. So the performance no longer becomes a mere display of gratuitous virtuosity but rather an exploration of the soul of Rubalcaba’s entire existence as an artist.

Chanting is heard throughout the album. Happily, those voices also include Pedrito Martinez on two sequences; more happily Martinez is not the only vocalist on the album. There are others – Philbert Armenteros, Mario Hidalgo, Sonia Feldman – all of whom chant to various deities as soloists and in a heavenly choir as well. Rubalcaba often resorts to the organ to channel his African harmonics through a European church setting rather than in a more secular fashion, on the piano. This is unusual but seems to work seamlessly with the African rhythms belted out by the conventional drum set, by Ernesto Simpson as well as by the battery of percussionists on the album.

But it is the gripping drama and involvement in large-scale works that recall the brilliant musicianship of Rubalcaba and the legacy of his pianism throughout his career. Rubalcaba’s captivating direction and intensity, complete with an almost hypnotic abandon, is a touch more measured in Rubalcaba’s (organist’s) hands but no less effectively communicated. The music is less florid and more ingeniously compressed into lines that poke and jab at the music in the keyboardist’s inimitable style.

Sendero de Espuma and Ronda de Suerte are arguably the most ambitious creations on the album. Truly symphonic in grandeur, the works are harnessed impressively by the exceptionally experienced Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Granite-like blocks of intensely chiseled harmonic progressions from start to finish are studiously laid down, as if for posterity, and yet there’s an underlying immediacy and restlessness in Rubalcaba’s rhetoric which leads to thrillingly choppy waters in the music. I can’t think of anything finer in terms of what Rubalcaba does on this or any of his previous recordings. There is a grandeur, flair and emotional risk here and happily it is on a record that has also been recognized as one of the best in 2015.

Suite Caminos is a 2016 Grammy Nominated Recording
Best Latin Jazz Album category

Track List: Sendero de Aliento; El Hijo Mensajero; Destino Sin Fin; Sendero de Espuma; Santa Meta; Alameda de Vientos; Via Prodigiosa; Ronda de Suerte.

Personnel: Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Piano on all selections except 1, synths on all selections, palmadas and tambor on selection 7; Matt Brewer: Upright bass on all selections except 1; Adam Rogers: Guitars on all selections except 1 and 6; Ernesto Simpson: Drums on all selections except 1; Gary Galimidi: Electric Guitar on selection 5; Will Vinson – Alto Sax on selections 2, 4 and 5 and Soprano Sax on selections 6, 7 and 8; Alex Sipiagin: Trumpet on selections 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8. Flugelhorn on selection 7; Seamus Blake: Tenor Sax on selection 2, 4, 5 and 6; Pedrito Martinez – Lead Vocals on selections 6 and 8, and chorus on all selections. Percussion on all selections and palmadas on 7; Philbert Armenteros: Lead Vocals on selections 2, 3, 7 and 8, and chorus on all selections. Percussion on all selections except 3; Mario Hidalgo: Lead Vocals on selection 1; Sonyalsi “Sonia” Feldman: Lead Vocals and Chorus on selections 4 and 5; Special Guest: John McLaughlin: Electric Guitar on selection 6.

Label: 5Passion
Release date: March 2015
Website: g-rubalcaba.com 
Running time: 1:17:42
Buy music on: CDBaby

 

Musica Jazz – Intervista – Gonzalo Rubalcaba

 

Musica Jazz – Marzo 2016 – Intervista Gonzalo Rubalcaba PDF
musica jazz

Downbeat – March 2016 – PDF

 

DownBeat – Gonzalo Rubalcaba  – PDF
downbeat march 2016

Charlie Haden and Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Tokyo Adagio

BY JEDD BEAUDOIN

11 August 2015

 charlie-haden-and-gonzalo-rubalcaba-2015-promo-650
 

81bVXMQO+BL._SX522_

CHARLIE HADEN AND GONZALO RUBALCABA

TOKYO ADAGIO

(IMPULSE! / UMC)
US: 7 AUG 2015

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER OF CHARLIE HADEN’S GREAT SPIRIT AND GENEROSITY. 
 
 

The world will never see another man like Charlie Haden. Musicians who claim with a sense of eclecticism and nuance might arrive by the score but no one could possibly play with his sense of restraint or march through time with his sense of social justice and dedication to right. Can you get a sense of one’s character by the notes he does or doesn’t play? Listening to this 2005 performance from Haden and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, you would honestly think so. His presence is understated, he is almost a ghost, who enters in those shadowy spaces where Rubalcaba’s piano figures become a wisp of fog and Haden’s lines a bright beacon. 

Perhaps those words don’t do the experience of hearing these two justice and perhaps nothing could but somehow it seems appropriate that this record should come along a year after Haden’s death as it serves as a kind of unexpected requiem and, alternately, a celebration of the man’s spirit and generosity. The story goes, of course, that Haden, never one to obey laws he deemed unjust,  and that went for adhering to the strictures of genre or expected musical roles. His sense of justice is evident here as allows his duet partner to shine brightly via a gorgeous 12-minute take on “My Love and I”, or as Rubalcaba creates the meditative, autumnal framework of the breathtaking opener, “En La Orilla Del Mundo”. 

Knowing the history of first-rate recordings these two shared—including the classic 2001 release Nocturne—it’s not hard to imagine that this Tokyo date would also yield great results. Their conversation on “When Will the Blues Leave” is often funny and just as often groundbreaking as they weave around each other, bounding and leaping through phrases at times while taking long, leisurely strolls at others. 

As fun as those playful moments are they are not competition for the more somber elements of the record and those, thankfully, prevail. You can hear the tug of those two emotions, on “Sandino”, which arrives near the midway point of the record, and you can hear the return to home in the spirited reading of “Solamente Un Vez (You Belong to Me)”, which works perfectly alongside the album closer, “Transparence”, a fitting final moment for this pair as the notes of that long-ago evening come to a close. But if it’s the solemn and somber that takes over here it’s not what the listener has to take away.

In the end, we hear the true poetry of playing between these two—and Rubalcaba is never less than stunning here—and the connection between this and the spirit world made through these six compositions.

As it all winds to a close you can’t help but turn the record over one more time in your mind, retrace your steps back to the beginning where the notes and the journey all started. It all makes you thankful that this record happened and that there were once men like Charlie Haden to walk the earth. We will all pale in comparison from here on out but at least we have memories like this from a time when this musical and spiritual giant roamed the earth.

 

 

Un prodigio al alcance de la mano – Por Gabriel Plaza | LA NACION

Gonzalo Rubalcaba, piano solo en Festival internacional Piano Piano / Sala: La Ballena Azul del Centro Cultural Kirchner / Función: jueves 23 de julio / Nuestra opinión: muy bueno

Rubalcaba-6-580x384

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alos 17 años, Gonzalo Rubalcaba se transformó en un pianista prodigio conocido en todo el mundo a partir del padrinazgo del trompetista Dizzy Gillespie. Con 52 años, el músico cubano sigue asombrando y es una referencia en la escena actual del latin jazz. Rubalcaba, uno de los lujos que se dio el Festival Internacional Piano Piano curado por Benjamin Taubkin, se presentó en un formato de solo piano, en una impasse de sus presentaciones en el mundo junto a su trío y como integrante del grupo de Charlie Haden. “Esto de tocar solo es una tragedia [dice con la propia exageración cubana] y es un lindo reto”, acomoda Rubalcaba, al promediar el concierto. Sin embargo, el músico está preparado para un desafío semejante y apabulla con su variedad de recursos no sólo técnicos, sino sensitivos, y ofrece felicidad a sus seguidores y a quienes no lo son. En el piano se demuestra desafiante, intimista, cálido y como un improvisador nato. Es un hombre que a través del instrumento habla y conversa de su legado cubano, aquel que aparece en el tumbao de la mano izquierda, pero que también dialoga con ese inmenso mundo que recorrió a través del jazz y de esa escuela clásica rusa que expresa en los solos de prestidigitador de la mano derecha. Rubalcaba pulsa las teclas con una pulcritud técnica y una sensibilidad que abruma. A veces utilizando los silencios para respirar después de una compleja trama rítmica y una gran variedad de solos. Otras, pintando una atmósfera musical abstracta como un cuadro de Pollock, que puede dejar fuera a algunos impacientes que salen en medio de la función. No es fácil la propuesta. Apenas una luz cenital, un hombre, un piano y ese inmenso auditorio de La Ballena Azul invitan a estar hiperconcentrados.

El público parece abstraído por la música de Rubalcaba y en cierto estado de ingravidez que provoca lo que se escucha, esa atmósfera intimista que se crea con el formato de piano solo: cada sonido, hasta el más ínfimo, se escucha al detalle y el pianista lo sabe. El propio Rubalcaba siente pavor ante tanta gente (un auditorio lleno), como confesará después. Casi no puede hablar. Por eso, cuando empieza la música entra en comunión con el instrumento y parece olvidarse del mundo. Como si fueran habitaciones continuas de una misma casa entra y sale del jazz, la sonata, el danzón y la habanera en los momentos de improvisación que aborda con el piano de cola. Ésa es la casa musical que habita Rubalcaba y que decora con un montón de elementos. Muchos de ellos vienen de la composición del jazz contemporáneo a través de hermosas piezas de Charlie Haden, de sus últimas obras incluidas en el disco Fe, o de sus propias relecturas de clásicos de la música popular cubana como “El manisero” (un “hit” de su repertorio) y la deconstrucción armónica que hace de un bolero tan conocido como “Bésame mucho”. Rubalcaba es una mezcla de esos perfumes sonoros: la escuela clásica, el jazz y la música cubana. Cuando encuentra la combinación de las fragancias musicales justas, su arte brilla como un sol. Cuando se reencuentra con su identidad, ya no parece que está solo con su piano, sino que toda una tradición lo escolta.

 

Return top