Archive for the ‘Recent Press’ Category

Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Profil

Gonzalo Rubalcaba est un pianiste de jazz cubain né le 27 mai 1963 à La Havane.

Discographie

  • Mi Gran Pasion (1987)
  • Live in Havana (1989)
  • Giraldilla (1990)
  • Discovery: Live at Montreux (1990)
  • The Blessing (1991)
  • Images: Live at Mt. Fuji (1991)
  • Suite 4 y 20 (1992)
  • Rapsodia (1992)
  • Imagine (1993)
  • Diz (1993)
  • Concatenacion (1995)
  • Flying Colors (1997) ave Joe Lovano
  • Antiguo (1998)
  • Inner Voyage (1999)
  • Supernova (2001)
  • Inicio (2001)
  • Nocturne (2001) avec Charlie Haden
  • Paseo (2004) avec New Cuban Quartet (nommé aux Latin Grammy Awards 2005)
  • Land Of The Sun (2004) avec Charlie Haden
  • Solo (2006) (nommé aux Latin Grammy Awards 2006)
  • Avatar (2008)
  • Fé (2010)

En tant qu’invité

  • Mafarefun (Tony Martinez)
  • Habana Vive (Tony Martinez)
  • Rendezvous in New York (Chick Corea)

Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Perfil

Gonzalo Rubalcaba (La Habana, Cuba, 27 de mayo de 1963) es un pianistacompositorde jazz cubano.

Encuadrado en la era post-bop, Rubalcaba es un virtuoso instrumentista que está considerado como una de las principales figuras del jazz afro-cubano.

Aunque no estuvo motivado en razones políticas, emigró y vivió algunos años en la República Dominicana para más tarde fijar sus residencia definitiva en Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Estados Unidos de América.

Discografía

  • Concierto Negro (1987)
  • Mi Gran Pasion (1987)
  • Live in Havana (1989)
  • Giraldilla (1990)
  • Discovery: Live at Montreux (1990)
  • The Blessing (1991)
  • Images: Live at Mt. Fuji (1991)
  • Suite 4 y 20 (1992)
  • Rapsodia (1992)
  • Imagine (1993)
  • Diz (1993)
  • Concatenacion (1995)
  • Flying Colors (1997) con Joe Lovano
  • Antiguo (1998)
  • Inner Voyage (1999) con Michael Brecker
  • Supernova (2001)
  • Inicio (2001)
  • Nocturne (2001) con Charlie Haden
  • Paseo (2004)
  • Land of the Sun (2004) con Charlie Haden
  • Solo (2006)
  • Avatar (2008)
  • “Fé” (2010)

Gonzalo Rubalcaba- Der Stern aus Kuba

Gonzalo Julio Gonzales Ponseca Rubalcaba (* 27. Mai 1963 in Havanna) ist ein kubanischer Jazz-Pianist. Neben Cuban-Jazz-Rock Projekten pflegt er das klassische Klaviertrio.

Leben

Rubalcaba stammt aus einer musikalischen Familie und ist der Sohn des Pianisten Guillermo Rubalcaba und Enkel des Komponisten Jacobao Gonzales Rubalcaba. Er begann zunächst mit dem Schlagzeugspiel und trat bereits als Fünfjähriger auf. Zwischen 1971 und 1983 unterzog er sich einer klassischen Musikausbildung. Er studierte Perkussion, Klavier und Komposition am Konservatorium und anschließend am Havana Institute of Fine Arts (Abschluss in Komposition 1983). Neben der europäischen Konzertmusik beeinflusste ihn auch die populäre kubanische Musik, in der es Möglichkeiten gab, zu improvisieren und damit seine eigenen musikalischen Ideen einfließen zu lassen. Das erste Mal verreiste Rubalcaba außerhalb Kubas 1980 – mit 17 Jahren – nach Panama und Kolumbien; dann tourte er 1983 mit der berühmten Salsakapelle Orquesta Aragon nach Afrika und Paris. Dizzy Gillespie war der erste nordamerikanische Musiker, zu dem er Kontakt hatte. Als dieser 1985 zum Jazzfestival nach Havanna kam, hatte Rubalcaba Gelegenheit, sehr eng mit ihm zusammenzuarbeiten. Gonzalo heiratete im November 1986. Er und seine Frau Maria zogen 1990 nach Santo Domingo in der Dominikanischen Republik (seit 1996 leben sie in Florida und haben inzwischen drei Kinder von 8, 12 und 14 Jahren). In den USA konnte er erstmals 1993 nach der Fürsprache von Wynton Marsalis und der Witwe Gillespies auftreten.

Werk

Bereits während seines Studiums spielte er mit Frank EmilioChucho ValdesPaquito D’Rivera und Arturo Sandoval. 1985 stellte er seine eigeneGrupo Projecto auf dem North Sea Jazz Festival und dem JazzFest Berlinvor, mit der er an einer Fusion aus Jazzrock, Bop und dem kubanischen Son arbeitete. Seine ersten Aufnahmen machte er in den Egrem-Studios in Havanna Anfang bis Mitte der 80er Jahre (u. a. „Inicio“ – ein Solopiano-Album und „Concierto Negro“). Anfang 1986 veröffentlichte drei Alben auf dem Frankfurter Label „Messidor“ mit seinem Cuban Quartett: „Mi Gran Pasion“, „Live in Havana“, und „Giraldilla“. Diese Aufnahmen zeigen sein Temperament, seine Virtuosität und, dass er zu diesem Zeitpunkt schon vom Jazz beeinflusst war. Die Jazz-Elemente waren damals zwar Teil seiner Musik, doch arbeitete er noch mehr mit Perkussion, Rhythmik – Elementen der afrokubanischen Tradition. 1986 überzeugte Gonzalo Rubalcaba mit seinem Auftritt auf dem Havanna Jazz Festival. Er trat in einem Trio mit Charlie Haden und Paul Motian auf. 1989 holte ihn Charlie Haden zum Jazz Festival Montreal, um wieder in diesem Trio zu spielen. Die Aufnahmen wurden erst 1997 unter dem Titel „The Montréal Tapes: Charlie Haden with Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Paul Motian“ veröffentlicht. Ein späterer Mitschnitt des Trios vom 1990er Jazz Festival Montreux erschien 1991 als „Discovery“. Das zunächst veröffentlichte Studio-Album „The Blessing“ (mit Haden und Jack DeJohnette zeigt bereits den Jazz-Pianisten Gonzalo Rubalcaba. 1992 nahm er mit seiner neuformierten Band Proyecto Latino seine „Suite 4 Y 20“ auf. Im Laufe der nächsten Jahre folgten immer neue Platten wie eine Hommage an Dizzy Gillespie („Diz“) oder die gewaltige Latin-Jazz-Suite „Antiguo“, auf der er die Summe seines bisherigen Spiels und all seiner Einflüsse zog. Auffallend immer wieder seine bestechende, dabei aber wie selbstverständlich wirkende, Virtuosität. Bei genauerem Hinhören fallen aber auch große Besonderheiten in der Melodik auf, einer Melodik, die zwischen den Stilen hin und her springt – beginnend in der Sprache des modernen Jazzs, dann nahtlos in klassische oder kubanische Formen übergeht, als mache der Pianist zwischen ihnen keinen Unterschied. Mit „Inner Voyage“ leistete sich Gonzalo Rubalcaba eine Reise nach innen, forschte nach den Nuancen. In „Nocturne“ – ebenfalls einem sehr intimen Album, nahmen Charlie Haden und Rubalcaba 2002 kubanische und mexikanische Boleros auf – für Rubalcaba eine Art Tribut an die ältere Generation Kubas. 2001 tourte er mit vier verschiedenen Formationen u. a. im Duo mit Chick Corea, 2002 lotete er die Möglichkeiten der Triobesetzung aus im sehr kontrastreichen „Supernova”. Das Album „Paseo“ knüpft nun wieder an seine elektrischeren Fusionausflüge von „Antiguo“ an – Latin-Fusion, improvisierter Modern Jazz, Rückkehr zu den kubanischen Wurzeln.

Stil

Trotz seiner großen Bandbreite gilt Gonzalo Rubalcaba aber heute eindeutig als Jazzpianist. Aufgrund seines afrokubanischen Backgrounds und seiner früheren Percussion-Ausbildung spielt die Rhythmik in seinem Spiel eine wichtige Rolle. Er selbst sieht das Piano auch „als Teil der Percussion-Familie“. Ungeheuren rhythmischen, melodischen und harmonischen Einfallsreichtum zeigte er auch in „The Trio“ mit Brian Bromberg undDennis Chambers, indem er Jazzstandards ‚zerlegt’ und als völlig neue sehr eigene Stücke wieder zusammenbaut.

Diskografie (Auswahl)

  • Live in Havana (1987)
  • Mi Gran Pasion (1989)
  • Giraldilla (1990)
  • Discovery – Live At Montreux (1991)
  • The Blessing (1991)
  • Images – Live At Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival (1991, August 24th & 25th)
  • Diz (1994)
  • The Trio (1997)
  • Flying Colors (1998)
  • Antiguo (1998)
  • Inner Voyage (1999)
  • Supernova (2001)
  • Nocturne (2002)
  • Land Of The Sun (2004)
  • Paseo (2004)
  • Solo (2006)
  • Avatar (2008)
  • Fé (2010)

Der Stern des aus Kuba stammenden Pianisten, Komponisten und Bandleaders Gonzalo Rubalcaba strahlt heute heller denn je, und sein neues Album “Supernova” dürfte die Strahlkraft nur noch weiter erhöhen. Denn auf seiner nunmehr siebten Einspielung für Blue Note läuft der in Havanna geborene, 47  jährige Virtuose wieder einmal zur Hochform auf – mit unvergleichlicher Technik, weit ausholender Imagination und den besten Zutaten aus Jazz und kubanischer Musik.

Rubalcaba vermengt verschiedene Kulturen nicht etwa, weil es gerade im Trend liegt, sondern weil er seit seiner frühen Kindheit wie selbstverständlich mit ihnen konfrontiert wurde. Im Elternhaus zählte es zum guten Ton, sich aus kubanischer Perspektive mit amerikanischen, europäischen, russischen und spanischen Traditionen zu befassen. Hinzu kommt seine nicht unbedeutsame musikalische Ahnenfolge: Rubalcabas Vater etablierte mit anderen Musikern den Cha-Cha-Cha und leitet bis heute die renommierte Formation Charanga Rubalcaba, sein Großvater komponierte die bis heute gern gespielte Prozessionshymne “El Cadete”, deren Thema der Enkel nun zitiert und neu interpretiert.

Er ist einer der Musiker, die in den 90er Jahren viel dazu beigetragen haben, dass die Afro-Kubanische Tanz-Szene aufleben konnte. Rubalcaba ist ein talentierter Pianist, der es schafft, die vorteilhaftesten Elemente derkubanischen Musik mit traditionellem Jazz zu mischen und daraus eine neue Einheit zu schaffen.1963 wurde er in eine Familie von Musikern hinein geboren und begann im Alter von acht Jahren, Klavierspielen zu lernen. Die nächsten zwölf Jahre verbrachte er damit, seine Fähigkeiten an diesem Instrument auszubauen und seine Technik zu verfeinern. In dieser Zeit hatte er Auftritte in Nachtclubs und Bars in Havanna.

1985 entdeckte ihn Dizzy Gillespie und schon 1986 überzeugt er mit seinem Auftritt auf dem Havanna Jazz Festival. Er trat in einem Trio auf, in dem auch die Nordamerikaner Charlie Haden und Paul Motian waren. Sie überredeten ihn, auch bei den Jazz Festivals in Montreaux und Montreal aufzutreten und kümmerten sich um seine erste Aufnahmen beim Label Blue Note. Mit dieser Aufnahme erreichte er auch das US-Amerikanische Publikum. Mitte der 90er Jahre verließ er Kuba, ging aber, anders als die meisten seiner Landsleute, nicht nach Amerika.

Pianista cubano Gonzalo Rubalcaba toca na Sala SP 07 de abril de 2010

Projeto Guri reúne seu coral com o músico e a banda Mantiqueira em encontro inédito em São Paulo

Roger Marzochi – Agência Estado

“Eu sempre digo que a vida é uma ilusão. Quando ela morre ou desaparece, tudo morre.” A frase do pianista cubano Gonzalo Rubalcaba, em entrevista à Agência Estado, por telefone, revela o desafio de estudantes de música em transformar sonhos em realidade e o papel da arte na sociedade. O músico veio ao Brasil a convite do Projeto Guri para realizar na Sala São Paulo, às 21 horas, um encontro inédito com a Banda Mantiqueira e o coral dos meninos do projeto, a fim de divulgar o novo programa da entidade, que visa financiar os estudos de ex-alunos que optaram pela música como profissão. A “ilusão” do menino que respirava música em sua própria casa, por onde circulavam Frank Emilio, Peruchin, Felipe Dulzaides, que visitavam seu pai, o pianista Guillermo Rubalcaba, levou-o primeiro à bateria e, depois, ao piano, com o qual chegou a tocar com Dizzy Gillespie e a vencer até um Grammy de Jazz Latino com o disco “Supernova” escolhido como o melhor em 2002. Mas em seu último disco, “Avatar” (2008), ele revela outro importante motor rítmico da sua arte. “O que se passa em nível local, nacional e além da fronteira? Quais são os ares que estão soprando nesse momento na gente que trata de reorganizar o passado, a tradição?”

Ele também vai fundo na tradição musical cubana, dando-a novos arranjos e enxergando “portas” e “janelas” para expandi-las, tem também outra preocupação da relação entre o “antigo”, o “velho” e o “atual”. Além dos “ares” da arte, no fundo, ele também fala em sua música instrumental de política. Mudou-se de Cuba em 1992 para Santo Domingo, e depois, em 1996, para os Estados Unidos. Ele não gosta de falar sobre a situação em Cuba, mas afirma: “o fato de viver fora de Cuba explica muita coisa.”

Qual o significado desse show para você, uma vez que é uma iniciativa do Projeto Guri para divulgar o novo programa para dar suporte financeiro a seus ex-alunos?

Tem um significado nobre. E, também, de muita esperança e muita ilusão. E eu estou sempre disponível para qualquer tipo de evento que estenda a mão ao talento que está para se formar. Por outro lado, vir ao Brasil uma vez mais e tocar com uma banda como essa (Mantiqueira), me dá a possibilidade de conhecer um pouco mais sobre a música brasileira. E eu penso que fazer isso pessoalmente, terá uma transcendência muito maior que ouvir um disco. A Alessandra (Alessandra Costa, diretora executiva da Associação Amigos do Projeto Guri) que pensou nesse evento é uma pessoa muito afortunada por tomar essa iniciativa.

O que o levou até seu último trabalho, “Avatar” (2008)?

“Avatar” é olhar ao redor. O que está acontecendo? O que existe? Primeiro o contexto mais imediato do que se está vivendo. Depois, o que se passa em nível local, nacional e até além da fronteira? Quais são os ares que estão soprando nesse momento na gente que trata de reorganizar o passado, a tradição? Esse é o primeiro ponto. Aí descobri que tem uma série de jovens que estão conectados com uma mesma visão sobre como fazer música. Falo de jovens com 10 a 15 anos menos que eu, que começam a definir outras tendências de se projetar musicalmente. E, tudo isso, em um contexto muito agitado como é Nova York, com uma forte convivência cultural formada por americanos nativos tratando de preservar sua memória, os latino-americanos chegando, assim como os europeus e asiáticos. Essa geração da qual estou falando, no grupo de gente de Avatar é, até certo ponto, representativo de um coletivo tanto americano como latino, como cubanos, que tem a mesma aspiração: a integração.

Há obviamente uma questão política dos ventos que sopram nesse processo? Qual a opinião sua com relação a Cuba? É algo que você gosta de falar, ou você diz isso em sua música?

Está dentro da música. Mas o fato de viver fora de Cuba explica muita coisa. Isso vale para qualquer cidadão do mundo. O fato de deixar sua terra, deixar suas coisas, sua história para trás, e se aventurar a buscar um espaço fora do teu lugar, de competir fora do seu lugar. O fato de encontrar tribuna, cenários e estruturas fora do contexto já fala por si só.

Percebi que você não gosta de falar sobre isso.

Nunca o faço. Se faço, digo de maneira respeitosa. Da forma que não esteja fazendo uma luta a quem pensa diferente. Pelo contrário. O mais importante é escutar todos os lados. O mais importante é somar todas as opiniões. E essa soma é o sinal que se pode dar para uma opinião balanceada sobre Cuba ou sobre qualquer outro tema. Cada setor da sociedade sabe em que medida dizer a realidade que está vivendo. Em termos gerais, Cuba precisa do mesmo espírito da Revolução de 59. O que quero dizer com isso? Creio que há muito tempo a chamada Revolução acabou.

Sobre o show, será a primeira vez que você tocará com a Mantiqueira?

Sim.

Qual será o repertório?

Será basicamente brasileiro, com músicas de João Bosco, cuja obra eu conheço bastante. Terá as obras originais da orquestra também. Vou fazer alguma coisa sólo, vou tentar colocar duas peças de origem cubana tradicionais, com novos arranjos. Mas o som será, basicamente, muito brasileiro.

Todas as músicas tradicionais cubanas as quais você vem preparando arranjos e a base rítmica cubana têm essa transcendência também?

Tenho um critério sobre o antigo, que não é necessariamente o velho. O antigo nunca vai criar resistência a permanecer como parte do atual. Porque o antigo contém bases sólidas que determinam, ou determinaram, a atualidade. Se falarmos do velho, falaremos de coisas que serviram em algum momento, mas morreram, caducaram. E desapareceram porque não encontram função na atualidade. O antigo já mantém indicando um caminho cheio de valores e posições que podem conviver ou servir de estímulo para o que se faz na atualidade. Não estou dizendo que se deve repetir o antigo. Seria um erro.

No show, você comentou que pretende tocar duas músicas tradicionais cubanas. Quais são elas?

Cuba é muito rica em repertório. Tem muitos estilos. Mas me chama muito a atenção a época da Trova Tradicional, a Trova Antiga. Nessa época, se punha muito interesse num balanço entre a poesia, a função da harmonia e o motor rítmico. Havia uma integração, a música surgia como um todo, tanto no conceito métrico quanto harmônico, como uma ferramenta dramática para dizer a história por meio da poesia. Essa época foi extremamente importante para a música cubana. Estou falando de um gênero que contém tudo, letra, música, formato instrumental. Havia um pensamento virtuoso de como dizer a música, como dizê-la, como estruturá-la. Um tema muito significativo dessa época é a música Longina, uma música chave do período. Longina era mulher, supostamente pelo que diz a letra, voluptuosa com uma série de atributos tremendos. Mas era a capacidade que tinha o autor para descrever o que via, sem cair em nada banal, comum. E sim, a partir da realidade, tomava-se um voo de inspiração tão alto esses senhores quando narravam o que viviam que é o faz dessa uma obra permanente.

E no show você pretende tocar essa música?

retendo tocá-la porque tem muitas portas que se podem abrir. Portas e janelas para encontrar um modo atual de projetá-la. É uma proposta que segue dando oportunidades para trabalhar. Essa é a razão de ligar-me a ela, e minha possibilidade como músico. Quando encontro essa possibilidade, com um respeito tremendo com a música original. Mas essa possibilidade me toma muito tempo. Eu creio que seria infeliz de fazê-la exatamente como quando a criaram. Para homenageá-la tem que se encontrar um cenário apropriado. Onde está o ponto em que a música permite a troca ou a expansão? Para mim, é muito difícil fazer isso. Eu busco documentos sobre a música, a estudo, até me convencer de uma forma respeitosa.

GONZALO RUBALCABA QUINTET Centro Cultural Miguel Delibes Sala Teatro Experimental “Álvaro Valentín” (Valladolid)

GONZALO RUBALCABA QUINTET

Centro Cultural Miguel Delibes Sala Teatro Experimental “Álvaro Valentín” (Valladolid)

20 de noviembre de 2010 - Crónica por Borja Sánchez Mayoral

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: piano

Yosvany Terry: saxos alto y soprano

Mike Rodriguez: trompeta y fliscorno

Matt Brewer: contrabajo

Ernesto Simpson: batería y percusión

Contar en la programación de conciertos de Valladolid con un músico de la talla de Gonzalo Rubalcaba ha sido todo un acierto. Con 47 años, Gonzalo Rubalcaba –de nacionalidad cubana y americana- es un pianista destacad de la escena jazzística internacional de las dos últimas décadas, poseyendo una carrera sólida donde se combinan tradiciones musicales de Cuba y Estados Unidos. Potenciadas sus inquietudes y habilidades desde pequeño porsu padre –el pianista Guillermo Rubalcaba-, Gonzalo despuntó desde jovencito. Sus primeras grabaciones datan de comienzos y mediados de los 80, llegando a firmar en 1990 un LP extraordinario con Charlie Haden y Paul Motian, ‘Discovery: Live At Montreux’.

Este álbum, donde su enorme virtuosismo tuvo una mayor proyección, supuso el espaldarazo definitivo en una trayectoria que presentó en su siguiente trabajo, ‘The Blessing’ (1991), también en formato trío –en esta ocasión con Charlie Haden y Jack DeJohnette-, otro hito de unas dimensiones artísticas equivalentes. En el resto de la discografía de Gonzalo Rubalcaba también podemos encontrar numerosos surcos interesantes, entre otros los contenidos en ‘Mi Gran Pasión’ (1987), ‘Rapsodia’ (1992), ‘Inner Voyage’ (1999), ‘Supernova’ (2001) y ‘Avatar’ (2008), trabajos en los que el pianista demuestra asimismo una versatilidad notable. El quinteto de Rubalcaba llegó a la sala Teatro Experimental del Auditorio Miguel Delibes con la intención de interpretar ‘Avatar’, el penúltimo trabajo del pianista si tenemos en cuenta que hace muy poco ha publicado ‘Fe’ (2010), un extenso disco en solitario lanzado desde su sello 5Passion, recientemente fundado junto a Gary Galimidi.

De las siete composiciones de ‘Avatar’, solo “Infantil” está firmada por Gonzalo, “perteneciendo” al saxofonista Yosvany Terry “Looking In Retrospective”, “This Is It” y “Hipside”, y al contrabajista Matt Brewer la misteriosa “Aspiring To Normalcy”. “Peace” de Horace Silver y “Preludio Corto No. 2 For Piano (Tu Amor Era Falso)” del cubano Alejandro García Caturla completan el listado. La formación que vino a Valladolid, salvo el batería Ernesto Simpson, fue la que grabó el disco, y en la actuación el pianista dedicó a los músicos unas palabras, diciendo que era un álbum que recoge capacidad y fantasía compositiva. Madurez, contención y visión de conjunto pueden ser términos que definan también este trabajo, en el que las ejecuciones acrobáticas de Rubalcaba no tienen la presencia de antaño. Perspectiva, expresividad y libertad para un jazz con ecos neoyorkinos, intrincado e imaginativo, que se mueve con naturalidad por distintos terrenos y no puede circunscribirse a una etiqueta como la del latin jazz.

Durante el concierto, Rubalcaba y sus socios elaboraron un discurso musical sin fisuras a través de composiciones largas. Dotado de una técnica asombrosa y una gran sensibilidad, el pianista enfocó y dirigió la actuación sin sobresalir demasiado del conjunto siendo, como hemos insinuado al hablar de ‘Avatar’, un elemento más dentro del esquema. Desde algo más de una década, tiene una mayor propensión hacia la melodía que hacia la complejidad rítmica, y su estilo tampoco olvidó la meticulosidad, la velocidad con las teclas y el pulso preciso. Combinó destreza con emotividad y templanza, y determinadas travesuras próximas al free, quiebros y filigranas con pinceladas concisas, todo ello con mucha seguridad. Le respaldaba en esta aventura un grupo que se articulaba y amoldaba en función del desarrollo y el momento de la pieza. La sección de vientos contaba con Yosvany Terry, un saxofonista que soplaba con sentimiento y decisión y dejó valiosas aportaciones, especialmente con el saxo soprano. Asimismo Terry se movió en ciertas ocasiones dentro de unos registros más libres, sin perder las coordenadas. El trompetista

Mike Rodriguez tenía una sonoridad limpia, luminosa e incisiva, manteniendo la comunicación y colaborando en la formación de texturas. El contrabajista Matt Brewer contribuyó al espacio común manejando su instrumento con plasticidad, defendiendo bien su parcela y apoyando en varios pasajes la construcción de un poderoso groove, siendo secundando por Ernesto Simpson, batería contundente, ágil y creativo, que no escondía sus influencias latinas.

La sencilla pero eficaz pantalla de fondo, que podía tener como motivo unos círculos concéntricos con colores que giraban o una iluminación más neutra, acompañaba bien la evolución de una música densa, de diferentes ambientes, logradas transiciones y brillantes cambios de ritmo, llevada a cabo con soltura y elegancia. En los bises, Gonzalo tuvo el protagonismo con dos interpretaciones en solitario,

sobresaliendo la adaptación de “El Manisero”, en la que dio una de sus mayores exhibiciones aquella noche, al revisar de manera poliédrica este clásico de la música cubana.Antes de esto, en el momento de presentar a los músicos y agradecer al público y a los promotores, manifestó sus ganas de volver a Valladolid: “Ojala se repita pronto y en verano”. Deseamos que así sea.

Texto: Borja Sánchez Mayoral

Fotos: Antonio Macías

The man sure can play-The Independent (London, England) August 29, 1995 Author: JOHN LYTTLE

In a jazz age still overshadowed by the Edmund Hillary-like heroes of the Fifties and Sixties, who scaled the peaks in mohair suits, with a cigarette in their mouths and a monkey on their backs, it’s rather alarming to come across a contemporary musician whose sheer genius announces itself from the off. But the Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba – who plays Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on Saturday – demonstrated on his debut Blue Note album, Live at Montreux, in 1991, exactly the kind of brilliance that is not supposed to happen any more. With Charlie Haden on double-bass and Paul Motian on drums, he clearly had good taste on his side already, but from the opening notes of the first track’s reworking of Thelonious Monk’s “Well You Needn’t”, lights flashed, bells rang and the elusive jazz jackpot’s coins poured out in a flood. He began with a full-tilt vamp on the chords, Afro-Cuban rhythms driving manic repetitions, until Monk’s lop-sided theme emerged amid a welter of virtuoso effects, a double-time salsa chorus leading into a second ascent on the tune until it slowed down to a dirge before the appropriately Monkian plinky-plonk ending. His unaccompanied solo on the self-composed third track was even better, a playful cadenza that mixed the history of post-war jazz piano styles with a ferocious Cuban lilt. And then he played a ballad so tenderly it almost made you weep. He was 27 and suddenly the most exciting pianist in the world. Unfortunately for his career, he was also Cuban. The son of a renowned Havana musician, whose own father was one of Cuba’s most illustrious danzon composers, Rubalcaba entered the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory at the age of eight to be taught by his mother before studying composition at the Arts Institute of Havana. By the time of his Blue Note debut (actually leased to the label by the Japanese subsidiary Something Else, in order to circumvent the US economic blockade of Cuba)Rubalcaba had already recorded a number of albums and toured Europe. Indeed, it was his fate to be “discovered” over and over again, by Dizzy Gillespie, who played with him at Havana’s 1985 jazz festival; by Charlie Haden, at the same festival in 1986, and by the German label Messidor, who released albums by him in 1988 and 1989.

Now a genuine star, with a further four Blue Note albums behind him, Rubalcaba has remained a citizen of Cuba, although he lives in the Dominican Republic in order to practice his profession more easily than Cuba’s isolation allows. When he was invited to New York for a Lincoln Centre concert in 1993, a diplomatic row broke out, with the State Department considering him persona non grata, and exiled musicians like Paquito D’Rivera protesting his presence. He still managed to play, but critics carped that he was either too Cuban or not Cuban enough for the jazz tradition. His Edinburgh solo concert – a British debut – is something of a coup, but he will be back in the autumn for a tour with the classical pianist Katia Labeque.

I interviewed him in Germany, with his responses translated into English by his manager. Technique, which Rubalcaba is alternately praised and cursed for, is, he says, “something to which you don’t just have the key in your pocket, to use at your will. The more you have, the more you need to think about how you will use it, and in my case, I always have a sense of its limits.” His first musical influence was Cuban traditional music, especially the heavily African-flavoured music of the church. “After that,” he says, “was Cuban popular music – also very African – and the music I played in my father’s band. If I have a style of my own, it is because I have been using jazz as a reference while also taking in the Cuban and African background which was itself an important influence to jazz musicians in the US.” Rubalcaba is also a much more varied player than he is credited for – he even does a nifty version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. The tune, he concedes, was suggested by his manager, but he remains a Fab Four fan, because, he says, he’s in sympathy with “the ideology of the time”. One fondly imagines Fidel himself grooving to Sgt Pepper in a natty camouflaged Beatle-jacket.

Meticulous Jazzman of the World-By BEN RATLIFF- Published: February 17, 2008- The New York Times

The Cuban-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who over the last 15 years or so has become one of the greatest musicians in jazz, is meticulous about music. You can tell this by the first unaccompanied notes of “Avatar,” his complexly beautiful new album. He has an almost eerie control over his sound, as if he were playing the strings directly instead of using the keys as intermediaries. He is also meticulous about ideas. He tends to classify music rather exactly, and he talks about jazz in terms of codes and information. He prepares his records — “productions,” he calls them — with conceptual rigor.

Mr. Rubalcaba has spent about a decade living in southern Florida in a quiet gated community about half-hour from Fort Lauderdale. His life looks more like that of a classical-music virtuoso than a jazz musician. He goes to the airport, tours, comes home and dives back into practice.

“I always wanted to have silence when I got home from working,” he said, sitting in the living room of his house last week, dressed entirely in white. Mr. Rubalcaba, who has a wife and three children, is 44, though he looks younger, and talks older. He is small and compact, with boyish freckles on his nose, but discusses his music with lofty self-assurance, almost professorially.

“Avatar,” which came out this month on Blue Note, represents his first serious interaction with the younger jazz musicians on the New York scene in his 15 years of playing in America. (He is to appear at the Village Vanguard, from Tuesday to next Sunday.)

New York can use him. An exciting recent undercurrent of music in the city has been a new kind of Afro-Latin jazz, with greater intellectual complexity, compositional ambition and cultural precision.

But Mr. Rubalcaba has mostly not been part of it. Instead he has been making his records and working around the world with his trio; he has also been involved in album projects with Charlie Haden and Joe Lovano, and has been devising a solo-piano repertory. Mr. Rubalcaba comes from a musical family in Cuba: his father and grandfather were prominent members of popular orchestras. (His father, Guillermo Rubalcaba, was for a time the pianist in the band of the violinist Enrique Jorrín, who created the cha-cha-cha.) Born in 1963, he grew up regularly seeing the best Cuban popular musicians playing in his house: Jorrín, the bassist Juan Formell of Los Van Van, the pianist Frank Emilio Flynn, the percussionist Changuito, the singer Omara Portuondo.

This was a perfect complement for Mr. Rubalcaba’s studies at Cuba’s musical conservatory, where he learned European classical music. “I had two schools,” he said. “The school that I could get in my house, the music of the street coming through my father and my family, and the orthodox school, the classical school, that didn’t want to hear anything about popular music.”

In 1992 he legally left Cuba and went to the Dominican Republic, where he lived for six years; he then he applied for permanent residence in the United States. (He is now a United States citizen; each time he returns to Cuba to see his family, he must apply for a visa.)

Last year Mr. Rubalcaba put “Avatar” together in a hurry, after trying and failing to tease out a concept for another piano-trio record. He decided he was tired of the format, having done it consistently for at least 15 years. (He has made more than 20 albums.) He heard a broader instrumental sound in his head, and enlisted a quintet, member by member.

He started with the saxophonist Yosvany Terry, a slightly younger Cuban living in New York, whom Mr. Rubalcaba knew from school days in Havana. He found Mike Rodriguez, a young trumpeter in Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, and Matt Brewer, a bassist with Greg Osby’s  band. At the end of the process, at Mr. Brewer’s suggestion, he added the drummer Marcus Gilmore, whom Mr. Rubalcaba had never heard. Mr. Gilmore had the task of learning some ferociously complicated music in three days. Three weeks of performances followed, then the making of the album in New York.

In the context of Mr. Rubalcaba’s career the record is unusually cooperative. He asked his band members to contribute compositions; Mr. Terry wrote three pieces for the album, and Mr. Brewer wrote one. And the quintet is as up-to-date a jazz group as can be found.

Sizing up Mr. Brewer and Mr. Gilmore, both in their 20s, Mr. Rubalcaba spoke not so much of what they are playing — their techniques or licks — but the wide range of what they are absorbing, what they are listening to, where they’re getting their input. “They’re part of a new generation of musicians that has more hunger about other things outside of jazz,” he said. “And they don’t see those things as exotic. They see them as serious and deep.” Mr. Rubalcaba himself learned jazz in bits and pieces. Until the late 1970s Cuban musicians were severely discouraged from playing it, for political reasons. Beyond that was the problem of what he calls information. In the mid-1980s Mr. Rubalcaba used to listen to a half-hour jazz show on Cuban radio, but the music didn’t go past the early ’60s; the disc jockey kept replaying items in his limited library, Mr. Rubalcaba remembered. He also had the option of searching for the few American jazz records that had been licensed to record labels in Communist-bloc countries or learning about records from friends who had traveled outside Cuba.  Keith Jarrett, for instance, was not a big influence among Cuban musicians in the ’80s because his records were hard to come by. But Mr. Rubalcaba found his way to Mr. Jarrett’s solo album “Facing You” when a friend brought back a copy from America. And in 1983, when Mr. Rubalcaba went on tour with the dynastic charanga group Orquesta Aragón, someone in Paris gave him a copy of Mr. Jarrett’s “Survivor’s Suite.” To his amazement, six years later he would play with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian, musicians on that album.

He has several things going now: his current tour with his new band; his continuing performances of solo-piano repertory, in which he bridges Cuba’s classical and popular music with improvisation and chilling focus; a collaboration with the Cuban-born singer Francisco Céspedes, his second; and a studio session with the French jazz accordionist Richard Galliano in the spring .

He has also been rehearsing in Los Angeles for an opera called “Revolution of Forms,” which may have its first performance in 2011. Set in Havana in 1961, it describes the planning of Cuba’s state art schools. The story tells how various architects and politicians — including Fidel Castro  and Che Guevara — argued about the correct way to fuse art with politics and history. (Mr. Rubalcaba, who attended the school, is working on the score with another composer, Anthony Davis; the libretto is being written by Charles Koppelman and the Mexican-born journalist Alma Guillermoprieto, who taught dance at the school in the ’60s.)

Mr. Rubalcaba is a serious cultural syncretist: he talks analytically and philosophically about combining aesthetic elements from Cuba, America and Europe, of mixing ancient and modern. “We have reached a point in the evolution not only of music, but of the world, where people have less resistance to being mixed,” he said. “It is a time to be open and anxious to learn beyond your own space. And it doesn’t take anything away from you. In fact it brings rich things to you.”

But he disdained the idea of working according to a grand project. He applies himself to whatever is in front of him, he explained. “I work as if the thing I’m working on will be the last thing I do,” he said. “It’s much better than looking around it to see what’s ahead.”

What the critics are saying about Gonzalo Rubalcaba…

What the critics are saying about Gonzalo Rubalcaba

” … the greatest pianist I’ve heard in the last 10 years.”

-Dizzy Guillespie’s remarks ( 1985).

“I fell on the floor and asked, ’Who is that guy, his solo was so unbelievable…He was 23 at the time, I, but it was like hearing a combination of Art Tatum, Herbie Hancock and Bill Evans.”

Charlie Haden

” … this is the best new voice to come along in jazz in almost a decade”.

-Jack Fuller, Chicago Tribune

” … Rubalcaba is a world-class jazz pianist with an impressive intensity and

command of his instrument.”

-Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times

” ….. This young man approaches jazz improvisation with an intriguing blend of

appealing abandon and profound beauty.”

-Chris Albertson, Stereo Review

… Rubalcaba displays both a keen sense of history and a renegade’s sense of

exploration. Where yesterday collides with tomorrow, that’s where you’ll find

Rubalcaba. At least for now- who knows where he’ll be off to next.”

-Jon Regen, Keyboard Magazine.

” … But it is nevertheless necessary to report that Rubalcaba stands in the company

of the great pianists active today in any genre of music-making.

-Richard Dyer, Globe Staff

” … This was certainly one of the top programs ofthe season, whether classical or

jazz, and possibly THE program; an exceptional performer, an exceptional creative

artist at the very top of this game. An unforgettable moment, one that if captured on

CD, you would play over and over, to absorb every nuance.

- Tom Moore, Classical Voice of North Carolina.

” … The Cuban-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who over the last 15 years or so has

become one of the greatest musicians in jazz, is meticulous about music. You can tell

this by the first unaccompanied notes of “Avatar”, his complexly beautiful new

album. He has an almost eerie control over his sound, as if he were playing the

string directly instead of using the keys as intermediaries. He is also meticulous

about ideas …. “

- Ben Ratliff, The New York Time

” ….. This isn’t Latin Jazz per se, or even Mr. Rubalcaba’s original version of it; it’s

more recognizably modern mainstream New York jazz.”

-Ben Ratliff, The New York Time.

” …. “Solo” is a remarkable achievement, at once meditative and muscular, and a

strong early contender for the 2006 TOP 10 list.”

-Josef Woodard, Jazziz Magazine.

” …. “Solo”, as his ninth recording for Blue Note, Rubalcaba solidifies his position as

one of the finest pianists of his, or any generation.”

-Paula Edelstein, All About Jazz Magazine.

” … He was also able to bring out a lot of the subtleties of Cuban music into his jazz

playing in a very original way.”

-Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune.

” … Listen to the sleek pianism and exquisite instrumental dialogues between

Rubalcaba and his sidemen throughout “Paseo” and it’s clear how far he has come.”

-Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune.


” … Fire and energy reunite in an explosion that expands light and silences sound_ for

an instant. Melodic glimmers emanate from this nebula with just one Star: Gonzalo

Rubalcaba.”

-Suan Pineda, Columbia

” … His sparkle doesn’t hide behind the incandescence of these classic stars, however,

but proceeds from a unique source with its own light resulting in a synergy

between the genius of the past and the present.”

-Suan Pineda, Columbia.

” … You can take pianist Gonzalo Ru balcaba out of his native land – and that in itself is

news but you can’t take Cuba out of Gonzalo. The Personal and political passions so

long associated with the island, its pride and isolation in a vast and roiling sea, come

to live in his music.”

-Howard Mandel, Jazziz Magazine.

” .. .It’s not just his speed, it’s his touch …. lt’s not just his touch, it’s his ideas.”

-Marty Hughley, Aregonian, Portland.

” … This reason, which Rubalcaba has managed to balance with a precise dexterity,

dwell in the symbiosis between the know-ledge of yesterday and the exploration of

tomorrow.To revolve around the richness of Cuban and Latin American rhythms,

and return to a classical axis, forms Rubalcaba’s universal style.”

-Suan Pineda, Columbia.

” … And that’s because it isa minimalist musical expression- give that the essence of

minimalism is not the scarcity of details and decorations, but the abundance of

space. Rubalcaba provides this space, enough to ponder and to set afloat in the

periphery of our consciousness.”

- Suan Pineda, Columbia

Keyboard Magazine May 2008 Interview by Jon Regen

Gonzalo Rubalcaba jumps continents – and centuries – with his groundbreaking take on Latin jazz.

by Jon Regen

Since bursting onto the jazz scene with his explosive Blue Note debut in 1990, Gonzalo Rubalcaba has carved out a singular niche in the musical landscape. In Rubalcaba’s world, jazz standards embrace electronic textures, Cuban rhythms collide with classical articulations – in other words, music is ever expanding and all-inclusive. Rubalcaba’s new album Avata.r is another genre bending tour de force that demonstrates how his unique trifecta of technique, insight, and daring has propelled him to the forefront of modern improvised music. From the sly, conversational “Looking In Retrospective,” where stark piano lines meet drum ‘n’ bass grooves, to the hip-hop infused “This Is It,” Rubalcaba displays both a keen sense of history and a renegade’s sense of exploration. Where yesterday collides with tomorrow, that’s where you’ll find Rubalcaba. At least for now – who knows where he’ll be off to next. I first heard the 44-year-old Cuban-born pianist at the Istanbul Jazz Festival in 2005, where he was anchoring Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. Having heard his first few technically astounding Blue Note recordings, I was

at once struck by the lyrical quality of his playing. Rubalcaba seemed to be saying as much with the notes he didn’t play, as with those he did. For a musician who made a name for himself with a fearless technique and a complete command of the piano, the newly-found elegance and restraint in his playing was an unexpected surprise. Recently, 1caught Rubalcaba at New York’s famed Village Vanguard for a blistering set that showcased music from the new album, and the determined musical vision behind it. During a break from his sold-out engagement, Rubalcaba sat down with me in midtown Manhattan to talk about the making ofAva.tar and his constant quest for musical excellence. I read that Avatar was originally supposed to be a trio record. How did that concept evolve into the modernsounding quintet we hear on the

recording? The original idea was to make a trio record. I tried to put together some music for the album, but it didn’t sound to me like it should be for a trio. I thought I needed one or two more elements in this group. There was something I wanted to do for a long time – to extend lines, melodies and harmonies, not only with the piano and the rhythm section, but with different colors and possibilities. I had knowledge of people like saxophonist Yosvany Terry and some other guys who were here in the States composing great music. I wanted to share with them in this spirit. Finally, I thought it was the right time to change the format and to change the members of the band – I had been working almost ten years with the same group, and I loved what they did. But I had that need to go in a different direction. One of the things that made the difference on this record was not only that it was a quintet, but that it was a record that I put fewer original compositions on. This was a band where I wanted to give everybody the opportunity to collaborate. Not only to use them as sidemen, but to put them to work in terms of the conception of the group. And we did it. There are three compositions by Yosvany and one by bassist Matt Brewerm and I’m happy about what they brought to the band. At the end I feel that it represents my record. When I put the new record on, the first thing I was reminded of from the opening on “Looking In Retrospective” was Keith Jarrett. Was he an influence on you? I think so. People in Cuba in the ’60s and 70s were more into Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, and McCoy Tyner. Few people were interested in what Keith was doing at that time. The big explosion about Keith came with his vision on how to play standards. [ had a connection with Keith since the first time I heard his [1976 album] The Survivor’s Suite. But at the same time, musicians in Cuba felt connected with Keith because we have a very strong classical training. The way he approaches the piano – technically and emotionally, it is very in the tradition of the classical school. Plus, he has great knowledge of the jazz tradition and roots. His playing is clean and clear – the articulation and dynamics, the construction of the phrases. For us in Cuba, where there was an obligation to do the classical school, Keith became a very representative image of what we had in front of us as students. That tune that opens the record, “Looking In Retrospective,” is a Yosvany tune, and I’m sure that he was influenced by Keith in his life. Avatar seems to transcend the Latin genre. It sounds like people making music in the most honest sense of the word – expressing today, expressing now. Not expressing preconceptions of what that music is “supposed” to be. I think that’s a good point. To me, Latin music is not exactly what people believe it is. I say that the most well known and promoted part of Latin music is probably the part connected with the dance, the music that the people use in Cuba and different countries around Latin America to dance and to party. I have nothing against that because I come from a family totally related to that history and that tradition. That tradition was my first reference musically, so the first thing I played, actually – not as a piano player but as a percussionist because I played drums and congas first – was Afro-Cuban music. The son, danz6n, chacha-cha, boleros. And after that I came to school and got a classical education, and then [ listened to jazz records. But the first thing was the Cuban stuff. If we go back to the end ofthe 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century, we can see that a lot of composers were using all these Cuban elements, but putting them in a different organization. Guys like Alejandro Garcia Caturla, [whose "Prellldio Carta No.2 for Piano - Tu Amor Em Flaso" appean on Avatar -Ed.], Amadeo Roldan, among others, were very connected with what composers like Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Paul Hindemith, and others from the modern school were doing. But they never ignored their roots. What they did was try to actualize their reality at that moment, and put that reality on a stage beyond the Cuban reality. That’s why we saw Cuban composers sharing the stage with successful European composers in the most successful theaters around the world in the ’20s and ’30s. This is the image I have of how to work with Cuban and Latin music. The good thing about the new generation of American musicians is that they are approaching the music without any resistance. They want to learn everything possible. Not only about jazz, or blues, or American tradition, but about everything else that can make them better musicians. And that makes the mission easier, because when you sit down to rehearse and say, “Okay, this is what I have, and here are the references, and I want to go in this direction,” you don’t see any confusion. They understand what you are talking about. And when you see what they have on their iPods – it could be hip-hop or classical to Ellington, Bud Powell, Greg asby, Elvin Jones, or Cuban music. They know about everything. And I think this is what made this record happen the way it did.

Isn’t that really the essence of jazz – blurring musical boundaries? You do chart new sonic ground on this record.

For many of us in this generation, we don’t come to the studio or the stage thinking about how to do jazz. Or thinking about how to do this or that. We come to do music. There are always influences. You can hear the jazz or the Cuban elements. But in the end, the target is to make music. And I think that happened with people like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. They had the same need, because they didn’t want to see themselves as local musicians, but as part of the world. And they wanted to see their music influence not only jazz musicians, but the music of the whole world. And they made it, because if you read comments coming from Stravinsky and Hindemith, they talk about when they came to the United States, how big the influence was of those jazz musicians, and how that experience shaped them to work with those folks at some point in their lives.

There’s something very interesting in your playing on this record – and you don’t hear this from many pianists. When you’re playing lines, you often repeat the same note in a phrase. Where did ou pick up on this from?

Well, you hear this a lot in singers.  And many people don’t notice it. You’ll hear melodies and singers repeat a note constantly. [Huns a melodic phrase where the melody repeats.] And they are repeating notes, but in a very musical way so you don’t notice it. But there are some examples, for instance, McCoy Tyner. He would repeat notes three or four times inside a phrase. And it’s a very smart idea, because not only does the note becomes a platform to a new idea, but the note also takes a new connotation if you change the harmony block in your left hand. John Coltrane used to do this a lot. You wrote a tune on the new album, entitled, “Infantil,” dedicated to John McLaughlin. Can you talk about the influence of innovators like him on you and your music? I think that was an important moment – not only John, but Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, and Wayne Shorter from Weather Report, Emerson, Lake & Palmer – that spectrum of people demonstrating how you could be serious, professional, and creative, and at the same time apply technology. They opened the road for many people at that time, and they got a lot of criticism, but they kept on going. Most important to me, besides the music, was the attitude. They kept themselves young. It seems to me that jazz pianists who have practiced a lot of classical technique come upon a sense of discovery and playfulness when they learn to improvise, maybe because some barriers disappear. How have your classical foundations affected your current work? I think it’s about how conscious you are in terms of how professional you have to be when you go to the stage. Even if your function on the stage is to play one note, you have find the way to bring that note out successfully. You have to hit that note at the right time, with the right feeling, with the right quality of sound. So it’s not about music – it’s about finding myself. But not to find the best side of myself, but to find the problems I have. Because some people go to their instruments to repeat and to enjoy what they know already. And they spend three, four, five hours at their instrument, repeating that, enjoying themselves. They are in love with themselves. And I think you have to respect yourself enough every day so that you can avoid that. So that you can afford to do different things, and face your problems and frustrations, and see that you are not perfect. What I can do to better understand music, whether it’s blues or jazz or pop, or danzon, is to listen. But not only to listen to the music that makes me happy, but to listen to the music that at some point I heard and I didn’t understand. So let me revisit that music – and see if that reaction was part of ignorance. Let me see if now I am able to understand it. Where do you think you got this sense of patience? Did it come from members of your family who taught you this kind of discipline? Discipline comes from two different places. School, and home – your family, the people behind you. I think this is really important. When you have parents and people around you that push you and force you because there is a time when you are younger and you’re unclear as to how to do things in life. You need to be forced sometimes. And they show you the idea of waking up every day, going to the instrument, working at the instrument, and spending time in order to get results. You have to find systems in order to maximize your time. You have a responsibility to pay back the people who stand behind you and have believed in you. But the most important thing is love, the need you have to express yourself through the music. To me, the music helps me to be a better person. I’m making music not only because it is a need. The music helps me see the world around me in the clearest way. To make music as a profession is not only to sit down at a piano and play, but we have to deal with many things that have nothing to do with music. Pressures, business around you, and some people don’t have the capacity to deal with it all, and they give up. Mental strength is what makes the difference, to be able to split your time – to say this is the time for business, and this is the time for the music. Are there some pianistic or musical influences that people might be surprised about”? I think you are always hearing things. Even ifyou don’t like an entire performance, there’s always a moment when you’ll say “that moment was important.” You seem like you’re able to focus on the good in many things. If people would take that attitude in life, life would be better. As musicians, we have the ability to criticize everybody. But what is hard for musicians is to talk not about the good things about you, but about the good things about other people. It’s easy to say, “I don’t like this. This guy’s not playing. This generation’s not doing good. The people of my generation were better,” but I think everybody is doing their best. At the end, you can see that people follow you, and they pack the club to come see you, and maybe they aren’t following other guys, but it doesn’t represent quality. There are a lot of elements in that game that are not about quality all the time. I’m clear about that. You can have a great moment, and sometimes you don’t even understand why. And I don’t care very much for great moments, in terms of popularity. Because I think this is something you have no control about. It depends on many factors. You probably get more popularity at the moment where you think you are not doing your best work. There are different factors that make you become popular. What’s coming up for you this year? I’m writing new music for the quintet, and this time I hope to increase the electronic elements on the next record. I’m also working on an opera that is scheduled to be released in 2011. There are two composers involved – Anthony Davis, and myself. And in April, I’m recording with [French accordionist] Richard Galliano, in a quartet that features drummer Manu Katche and bassist Charlie Haden. When I heard you in Istanbul a few years back, I was struck by what seemed like a big change and a new sense of lyricism in your playing. You have always had an amazing sense of facility, but all of a sudden there seemed to be a sense of space and sweetness – a whole new direction had opened up. I always say that people can’t change things at the exact moment they want to. You need to know what you want to change before you can change it. I’m not always happy with what is happening in the moment, But I’m happy that at that moment, I have the idea how to do things better tomorrow. That means that I’m still able to see different ways to go. There’s a possibility to go somewhere – and sometimes you’re wrong, but at least that attitude, that you’re alert and open and hungry, helps you begin transforming things. You’re always searching.

Exactly. That’s the most important thing.

Los conciertos de Mastrito: Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quintet: El jazz es un gran invento 11/19/10

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quintet: El jazz es un gran invento

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quintet, 12-11-2010,

Auditorio Maestro Padilla (Almería)

Lo del pasado viernes si que fue jazz con mayúsculas, del bueno, música total, la demostración fehaciente de que esta es la música del siglo XX, del XXI y del futuro. Llegaba la 2a jornada del XXI Festival Internacional de jazz de Almería, y realmente acudí a nuestro auditorio con ganas.

Entiéndaseme: normalmente siempre tengo un hambre incontrolable por escuchar música en directo, pero..siempre hay días en los que uno esta mas predispuesto. Durante la tarde vi en mi DVD una grabación del pasado verano en el festival de jazz de Vitoria – al que este año no pude acudir en directo – del quinteto que iba a escuchar por la noche, y realmente me ayudó a prepararme para lo que se me venía encima. Pero ya se sabe que, tal y como la realidad supera la ficción, el riguroso directo supera con creces a las televisiones y los DVD ́s.

La cuestión es que cuando me senté en la primera fila del Maestro Padilla, con mi mujer a un lado y dos buenos amigos y, a la sazón, de los mejores músicos de Almería, Chipo Martínez y Antonio Gomez, creo que estaba totalmente receptivo a escuchar buen jazz, y posiblemente por eso disfruté del concierto como hacia mucho tiempo que no lo conseguía.

El quinteto de Gonzalo Rubalcaba venía a proponernos un recorrido en directo por el último disco de este gran pianista titulado “Avatar“. Tal y como el comentó durante una de sus intervenciones, nada que ver con la famosa película del mismo título, y de hecho este disco se editó un año antes del “boom” del film de James Cameron, y desde luego no tiene ninguna relación con el. Casualidades de la vida.

A lo que vamos, que es la música que allí sonó, reconozco que me va a costar bastante explicarlo. Lo que si querría dejar claro es que la complejidad técnica en todos los aspectos musicales no restaba un ápice a la emoción que lograron transmitir todos los músicos desde el escenario.

El repertorio estuvo compuesto de temas propios y, si no me equivoco, todos ellos incluidos en el citado trabajo “Avatar”.

Comenzaron con “Looking in retrospective“, primero también del disco, con una bellisima intro de piano de Gonzalo y en el que tras la exposición del tema comienza una trepidante conversación entre piano, saxo y trompeta. Ya en ese momento nos dejaron claro que el jazz que íbamos a escuchar esa noche era oro puro.

Escuchamos la composición del contrabajista Matt Brewer titulada “Aspiring to normalcy“, temas como “Infantil (Dedicated to John McLaughlin“, también con una introducción de piano con mucho sabor a música contemporánea, “This is it” y “Hip side” y la balada de

Horace Silver “Peace“, ejecutada en trio, y que consiguió crear una tensión que nos dejó a mas de uno sin respiración.

Me resulta muy complicado definir con palabras la forma de tocar de Gonzalo Rubalcaba, porque es una especie de compendio de muchos pianistas, con mucha técnica pero sabiamente mezclada con sensibilidad. De sus dedos salen frases que recuerdan a los grandes del jazz , desde a Art Tatum a Bud Powell, pero que pueden transformarse con una fluidez pasmosa en sonidos extraídos de cualquier composición de Bela Bartok. Cuando quiere sonar a Monk, lo hace. Si quiere hacer guiños a Chick Corea, los hace. Cuando quiere ser lírico, profundo y reflexivo puede sonar a Bill Evans. Pero cuando quiere sonar a Rubalcaba, también lo consigue y se lanza a explorar el piano en toda su profundidad, consiguendo sonidos, frases y “voincings” realmente originales. Su mano izquierda es firme y rítmica, supongo que derivada de sus conocimientos de percusión – mi buen amigo Luis Barberia me contó esa misma tarde que realmente Rubalcaba comenzó como baterista y percusionista, allá en su cuba natal – y su mano derecha literalmente vuela acariciando las teclas. Algunas de sus improvisaciones fueron realmente apabullantes por su delicadeza.

La banda que lo acompaña – por decir algo, porque la palabra “acompañar” se queda pequeña en estas ocasiones – tenia un nivel musical acorde con su líder, como era de esperar.

Especialmente me gustó el sonido, la musicalidad y la solvencia rítmica del contrabajista – compositor ademas de alguno de los temas – Matt Brewer - , y que luego supe que estuvo tocando el contrabajo del músico almeriense Fafi Molina, que salía del concierto con la satisfacción de haber escuchado salir de sus cuerdas tantas y tan acertadas notas.

Los dos vientos, el saxofonista Yosvany Terry y el trompetista Mike Rodríguez también acertadisimos en sus respectivos instrumentos. Yosvany, que aportaba algunas piezas compuestas por él, también demostró una enorme sensibilidad y sus solos estaban realmente bien construidos. Y Mike sacó un sonido verdaderamente hermoso de su trompeta, instrumento que ya de

por sí tiene la caracteristica de unir muy bien lo latino con lo mas puramente jazzistico. Si quien la toca se apellida Rodriguez, pues posiblemente la fusión es mas evidente. Y , por último, el batería Ernesto Simpson en perfecta comunión con Matt Brewer, supo tejer perfectamente la red en la que constantemente se dejaban caer los solistas. Como mi buen amigo Antonio Gomez comentaba nada mas terminar el concierto pocas veces se escuchan a músicos consiguiendo tocar con ese”groove” a tan bajo volumen, consiguiendo tanta sensibilidad y matices. Lo tristemente habitual cuando se atacan estos ritmos es abusar del volumen, pero con músicos de esta talla esto no parecia ser un problema.

En definitiva, buenas composiciones, endiablados arreglos, ritmos complejos, inspiradisimos solos y perfecta comunión entre los músicos, respetándose entre ellos, elevando los silencios a la categoría de bellas notas. En fin, se me acaban los elogios para un concierto de los que le dan a uno la razón cuando piensa que esto del jazz es uno de los mejores inventos de este ser humano que tantos disgustos nos da habitualmente.

Como final, y tras la ferviente petición del no muy numeroso público – una lástima, pero ya se sabe que esto del jazz sigue siendo minoritario – comopara dejar claro que conoce bien sus derechos y deberes como líder, Gonzalo Rubalcaba dejó en camerinos relajándose a sus cuatro compañeros y salió solo al escenario para regalarnos dos piezas a piano solo que consiguieron lo que parecía imposible: subir todavía mas el listón. La última fue algo así como una de-construcción de “El manisero“. Lo que hacía – y deshacía – Rubalcaba con la melodía y armonía de este famoso standard de su cuba natal solo él lo sabe, pero ciertamente nunca había escuchado una versión tan original de tan conocida melodía. Solo una maestro puede conseguir esto, y estábamos ante uno, y de los grandes.

PUBLICADO POR RAMÓN GARCÍA EN 11:50

Return top