Archive for the ‘Critical Acclaim’ Category Gonzalo Rubalcaba Año XIV – Madrid, del viernes 29 de junio al lunes 2 de julio de 2012

Año XIV – Madrid, del viernes 29 de junio al lunes 2 de julio de 2012

El gran pianista cubano, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, sigue siendo una de las principales referencias del latin jazz, aunque su trabajo cada vez tiene más repercusión en el en el gran mercado estadounidense.

De momento, casi todas las estrellas de la fusión del país norteamericano han intentado en los últimos tiempos colaborar con él. En este video no encontramos al artista de la Isla con la excelente compañía del guitarrista Al Dimeola.

Jazz Life Japan- XXI Century

Something Else Reviews : Gonzalo Rubalcaba – XXI Century (2012) By Nick DeRiso

Gonzalo Rubalcaba – XXI Century (2012) By Nick DeRiso

A gutsy blend of contemplative Evans/Tristano-informed piano excursions and these grease-popping Cuban jams, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s XXI Century takes us on a journey across time and cultures. Along the way, Rubalcaba breaks down barrier after barrier — the ones standing between our concepts of what fits, and what doesn’t and the ones that keep our worlds separate.

XXI Century, due on May 29, 2012 from Rubalcaba’s 5Passion imprint, follows   2011′s Fe’ — but has little in common with that solo meditation on home, faith and family. Working instead with a few trusted compatriots, Rubalcaba firmly fixes his gaze outward. Too, where that album walked a finely drawn line between classical and jazz, here the pianist leaps headlong into the raucous cadences of his ancestral homeland.

Four of this expansive double-CD set’s 10 songs are Rubalcaba originals, beginning with the album-opening “Nueva Cubana” — a daring blending of hypnotic polyrhythms and nifty interplay between Rubalcaba and a talented band featuring bassist Matt Brewer (this percolating counterpoint throughout), drummer Marcus Gilmore and percussionist Pedro “Pedtrito” Martinez. “Oshun,” moves with an episodic determination, even as Rubalcaba switches to synthesizer, adding another atmospheric layer.

Guest guitarist Lionel Loueke sits in for the coiled funk workout “Fifty,” and his lyrical original “Alafia.” The brilliantly constructed “Son XXI,” from bimodal composer Enrique Ubieta, spills outward from a rumba pattern into these series of eddying percussive patterns — even as Rubalcaba tip toes by on the piano.


There’s more to this that rhythm vehicles, though, as Rubalcaba stretches out into the rippling zen-like unknowns of “Moor,” the Paul Bley composition. Brewer’s “Anthem,” a ruminative rubato, gives everyone a chance to play around the silences. Elsewhere, Lennie Tristano’s “Lennie’s Pennies” (which swings like crazy) and Bill Evans’ “Time Remembered” (lithe, gorgeous) are both given sensitive, complete readings of more than 10 minutes a piece — a rare opportunity made real over the course of this two-disc release.

Given a chance to stretch out (after all, he’s the label boss, right?), Rubalcaba reaffirms his place as one of the most important Afro-Cuban jazz figures to have emerged in the 1990s. He still possesses both the expected ebullience and the stirring power so long associated with Latin players — but also (and this is what makes him so special) the crystalline patience, and a thoughtful finesse, so few have managed.


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”.



Up & Down Beats: In the Mood for Jazz – By Mishar – 19 May, 2012 – NewStraitsTimes


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Gonzalo Rubalcaba

IF it had been up to me, Gonzalo Rubalcaba would be highlighting tonight’s jazz festival, given his enormous gifts and facility with expanding the jazz vocabulary, in the manner in which Hiromi is attempting to do so.

Since he is almost near impossible to get, we’ll have to settle with his latest album, where he sets himself up in an incendiary ensemble, featuring Marcus Gilmore (drums), Matt Brewer (bass) and the redoubtable Lionel Loueke (guitar).

The Cuban-based landscape and Rubalcaba’s unfettered freedom  roam stylistically and creatively, and it shows in this humdinger.

The whole length and breadth of this album is roiling with virtuosic nods to jazz greats of the past but is also very circumspect in handling incredible passages.

Check out the expert interrogation of Moor, a Paul Bley-Gary Peacock composition, where Rubalcaba dives into an adventure in known and unknown territories.

Rubalcaba honours Bill Evans (Time Remembered) and Lennie Tristano (Lennie’s Pennies), both edging in harmonic sophistication.

Rubalcaba still indulges in limited flash and dazzle, if that’s what you require of him because of what he has done in previous albums, but XXI Century will grow exponentially in your mind as jazz of infinite credulity.



All About Jazz Gonzalo Rubalcaba: XXI Century (2012)


If Gonzalo Rubalcaba were a major league pitcher, he would be a seasoned veteran with the knowledge that to be effective he would have to be the master of multiple pitches. Gone are his rookie days when he could throw nothing but fastballs to get outs.

Same for Gonzalo Rubalcaba, jazz pianist. Twenty-five years ago he wowed audiences with his powerful attack and blinding speed. As his sound has matured, he has begun communicating with more subtlety, throwing audiences more off-speed and graceful pitches.

XXI Century is the second release from his own imprint, and like the previous solo outing,Fe…’Faith (5 Passion, 2011), he continues to reveal his expanding repertoire. This double disc plays off Cuban themes, percussive fusion, funk, and introspective improvisation.

Well chosen guests supplement his working trio of bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Rubalcaba’s opening “Nueva Cubana” traverses a percussive attack to etch itself upon the electricity of Gary Galimidi’s guitar. The sound is not so much a fusion of rock and Cuban jazz as it is a mutual path. Same with the funk laid down on “Fifty.” Lionel Loueke’s Afropop guitar bumps into Gilmore’s groove, and Rubalcaba’s Cuban vibe ties West Africa to North America and the Caribbean.

With the help of percussionist Pedro “Pedrito” Martinez, the groove stays firmly rooted in Cuba. “Son XXI” highlights the pianist’s percussive attack, matching the clavé with the keyboard—a dare to sit still.

While the pyrotechnics are present, the pianist also shows another side, covering Lennie Tristano’s “Lennie Pennies” as Keith Jarrett might eschewing rhythmic emotion for a mathematical precision. His take on Paul Bley’s “Moore” and Bill Evans’ “Time Remembered” expose a very thoughtful side, where the pianist opens compositions up to lighter swing.

Rubalcaba has mastered a backdoor strike here, not to keep the listeners off balance but to display his full array of talents.

Track Listing: CD1: Nueva Cubana; Time Remembered; Fifty; Anthem; Oshun; CD2: Moore; Son XXI; Alafia; Lennie’s Pennies; Oshun (short version).

Personnel: Gonzalo Rubalcaba: piano, Yamaha CFX, keyboards; Matt Brewer: acoustic double bass, arco bass, electric bass; Marcus Gilmore: drums; Ignacio Berroa: drums; Pedro “Pedrito” Martinez: percussion, voice; Lionel Leouke: guitar, voice; Gary Galimidi: electric guitar.



Gonzalo Rubalcaba XXI Century By Rachel Swan

Gonzalo Rubalcaba

XXI Century

By Rachel Swan

Track lists alone should tell you something about the omnivorous tastes of pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the Cuban jazz pianist whose style is steeped both in Afro-Latin traditions and in the Blue Note records he consumed while growing up. And the song choices on his latest offering are particularly classy: four originals, a few not-so-obvious standards, and a few culled from his friends’ discographies. Among the ten are “Alafia,” by West African guitarist and frequent collaborator Lionel Loueke (who sings in a high warble over his own guitar solo), and a lean, percussive version of “Lennie’s Pennie’s,” a bebop piece by pianist Lennie Tristano.

Though he’s characterized as a Latin composer, Rubalcaba tends toward modern jazz — meaning he likes pungent harmonies and beats that swing. He’ll sometimes evoke a form without sticking to it exactly, as he does with the hybrid cha-cha beat that serves as scaffolding for Enrique Ubieta’s “Son XXI.” At other times, he’ll reinterpret a tune by sacrificing its sentiment, as he does on the Tristano cover. Rubalcaba’s version of the Bill Evans ballad “Time Remembered,” for instance, is a reverent reflection on (and departure from) its source material. The groove and chord voicings seem a little crisper and lighter than Evans would have liked, but the late master’s ghost hovers everywhere in Rubalcaba’s drawn-out introduction.

If anything, Rubalcaba proves that it’s possible to treat jazz as a pastiche art form and still retain all the sensitivity and musical depth that we associate with bebop of the Fifties and Sixties. He came up in a generation that defined itself largely on multiculturalism, and nowhere is that more apparent than on XXI Century. It’s an album that lurches forward, while gathering influences from all sides. (5Passion)


Miles Español- New Sketches Of Spain- Review by Steve Moffatt


There are so many highlights here, but for the sheer joy of his improvisational genius check out Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s Fantasia por Miles y Gil.


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5 PASION GONZALO RUBALCABA/XXI Century: Enough water has flown under the bridge since first hearing Rubalcaba that he’s now a middle aged man with already a full career behind him. Another former major label artist that’s been cut loose, he uses this freedom wisely, not having a mothership hem him into being the tyro he once was, playing more notes per second than anyone and otherwise being told what to do. He knows what to do and stretching out over this two disc set with some high faluting pals and guests, he leaves no doubt that he’s still the jazz force of nature he always was. Moving easy from being one of the most important new jazz figures to come out of the 90s to being an important figure of the 10s, this lite caliente Afro Cuban jazz romp delivers the goods throughout. Needless to say, it’s hot stuff. 10


Volume 35/Number 191
April 30, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest RecordVolume 35/Number 191
April 30, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

Review: Al DiMeola and Gonzalo Rubalcaba form a dynamic jazz duo–By Dan Emerson Special to the Pioneer Press

Pioneer Press

Guitarist Al DiMeola and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba have performed together as part of DiMeola’s band, the New World Sinfonia. But Tuesday night’s performance at the Dakota jazz club was their first time playing as a duo, and the start of a national tour. Both musicians are virtuosos who bring classical technique and Latin influences to jazz improvisation. DiMeola, who began his career in the spotlight back in the early 1970s as a member of Chick Corea’s jazz-fusion juggernaut “Return to Forever,” has crafted a signature guitar style that combines complex syncopated rhythms with the sophisticated harmony of jazz and classical music. In recent years, he has spent much of his time exploring the music of the late Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, who was a mentor and friend to DiMeola. The first few tunes of the opening set on Tuesday, March 20, were pieces DiMeola recorded with the Sinfonia on his most recent CD, 2010’s “Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody.” The duo opened with “Siberiana,” followed by “Mawazine” and “Brave New World.” With impeccable precision, DiMeola used a flat pick to play his acoustic guitar, and he also made judicious use of a few electronic effects to add sustain and fatten his tone, at one point producing a violin-like sound. He was not hampered by the lack of a rhythm section, using his left foot to tap out tempos with metronome-like precision. Playing a number of tango-influenced compositions, he employed gentle arpeggio sweeps punctuated with percussive, briskly-strummed chords. Rubalcaba, one of several brilliant pianists to emigrate from Cuba in recent years, also displayed flawless technique and mastery of sonic nuance. The set also included DiMeola’s beautifully rearranged solo version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird.”At one point, DiMeola exited the stage so Rubalcaba could perform an original solo composition. The piece featured some simple but eloquent left-hand harmony that evoked the style of French composer Erik Satie. DiMeola and Rubalcaba closed their opening set with the guitarist’s intensely-played composition “Turquoise.” DiMeola and Rubalcaba will perform again at the Dakota at 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday. Their Dakota engagement was extended from one to two nights because of the cancellation of a scheduled concert by harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans.

Dan Emerson is a freelance writer and musician in Minneapolis.


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