Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

The China Post news staff September 14, 2013, 12:01 am TWN

Famous jazz pianist to give memorable concert in Taipei

The China Post news staff
September 14, 2013, 12:01 am TWN

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The party ain’t over till it is over, or, better still, it ain’t over till the National Theater Concert Hall’s temperature reaches the boiling point when jazz great Gonzalo Rubalcaba peforms in a Saturday, Sept. 14 concert.

The Cuban-born pianist, whom the New York Times once referred to as one of the greatest jazz musicians, will wrap up the National Theater Concert Hall’s “2013 Summer Jazz Party” with a trio performance along with bassist Jose Armando Gola and drummer Ernesto Simpson.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, priced at NT$500, NT$800, NT$1,200, NT$1,600, NT$2,000 and NT$2,500, are available online at www.artsticket.com.tw. The concert is preceded by a brief introduction in the concert hall lobby at 7 p.m.

Students, members of the Eslite Club, users of the Mercedes-Benz Platinum credit card, and members of “Friends of the National Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center and National Theater Concert Hall” are eligible for discounts. Further information is available at 02-3393-9888.

Best known for his beautiful album “Avatar,” Gonzalo Rubalcaba is modest about his achievements. “I never called myself a jazz musician,” he said.

Attributing his success to his extensive exposure and the works of others, he said: “I think it is important to have a wide background, to have an unprejudiced view … without divisive limits. In the end this helps to enrich your experience and wisdom.”

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 Jorrin, who created the cha-cha-cha, according to the New York Times.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba to play at Carnegie Hall December 4th and Dec 8th, 2012 Tickets on sale now…

http://www.carnegiehall.org/latinamerica/

http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2012/12/4/0800/PM/Egberto-Gismonti-Danilo-Perez-Gonzalo-Rubalcaba-Chucho-Valdes/

Voices from Latin America

A citywide festival celebrating Latin America’s music and arts.

From the irresistible rhythms of Afro-Cuban jazz to the sophistication of Brazilian samba, from the passionate intensity of Mexican rancheras to the infectious joy of Venezuela’s El Sistema social-action movement, Latin American culture has captured the world’s imagination. Festival artists include Gilberto Gil, Chucho Valdés, Gustavo Dudamel, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Voces de América Latina

Un festival en la ciudad de Nueva York celebrando la música y las artes de América Latina.

Desde los irresistibles ritmos del jazz afrocubano hasta la sofisticación de la samba brasileña; de la intensa pasión de las rancheras mexicanas a la alegría contagiosa del movimiento de acción social venezolano El Sistema, la cultura latinoamericana ha capturado la imaginación del mundo. Los artistas del festival incluyen a Gilberto Gil, Chucho Valdés, Gustavo Dudamel, y Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Cuban Piano Virtuoso Gonzalo Rubalcaba Shines on Ambitious 2-CD Set, XXI Century

Cuban Piano Virtuoso Gonzalo Rubalcaba Shines on Ambitious 2-CD Set, XXI Century

 

For Immediate Release:
Street Date: May 29th, 2012
In a career that has spanned 25 years and nearly 30 releases, including a string of acclaimed recordings for the prestigious Blue Note label, Cuban piano virtuoso Gonzalo Rubalcaba has awed critics and fans alike with his prodigious technique and depth of soul as a composer. On XXI Century, his second recording on his 5Passion imprint, Rubalcaba lets his Afro-Cuban roots bubble to the top while also paying tribute to two piano heroes in Bill Evans and Lennie Tristanto.
Accompanied by such stellar sidemen as bassist Matt Brewer, drummer Marcus Gilmore and percussionist Pedro “Pedtrito” Martinez, Gonzalo alternates between percolating tumbao-fuled jams, the occasional funk workout and crystalline introspection on this potent two-CD set. Guest guitarist Lionel Loueke appears on the funk throwdown “Fifty” and also on his own hypnotic composition “Alafia.” Rubalcaba’s fellow Havana native, drummer and longtime collaborator Ignacio Berrora makes a special guest appearance alongside second drummer Gilmore on a spirited rendition of the Paul Bley tune “Moor.”
While Gonzalo and crew exhibit near-telepathic interplay on more subdued fare like Evans’ gorgeous “Time Remembered,” Brewer’s rubato “Anthem” and Bley’s zen-like swinger “Moor,” the energy level spikes on Rubalcaba originals like “Nueva Cubana,” “Oshun” and “Son XXI,” all of which expertly blend Cuban folkloric elements with daring jazz improvisation. Martinez also lends his stirring vocals to the folkloric “Oshun,” which conjures up an authentic Santeria ritual with Rubalcaba’s subtle synth seasonings on top. And he stretches out in a jazzy vein on an irrepressibly swinging interpretation of Tristano’s “Lennie’s Pennies,” revealing yet another aspect of his multi-cultural virtuosity. (Marcus Gilmore’s drum solo on this lone boppish offering shows why he may have inherited more than just a bit of his impressive skills from his grandfather, drumming legend Roy Haynes).
This latest outing by Gonzalo, who is regarded as one of the most important figures to emerge from Afro-Cuban jazz in the ’90s, is the next step in his ongoing evolution as an artist. And while he has never compromised his artistic integrity on any of his previous outings over the years, he is even more liberated to truly pursue his muse on his own 5Passion imprint. Few labels would have given him the green light to record a 2-CD set. But under the auspices of 5Passion, the seasoned veteran is free to follow his creative inclinations with impunity on XXI Century. Rubalcaba has come a long way from his early days as a pyrotechnic marvel (as heard on his early outings like his 1990 Blue Note debut, Discovery: Live at Montreux and the following year’s The Blessing. This latest outing, recorded when he was 49, may be the pianist’s deepest and most fully-realized recording to date.
For More Information on Gonzalo Rubalcaba go to:
Press Contact:
Two for the Show Media/Chris DiGirolamo
Phone: (631) 298 -7823/ Email: Chris@Twofortheshowmedia.com

 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba- “The Making of XXI Century” Available April 2012

Gonzalo Rubalcaba. ‘XXI Century’ Jesús Vega Especial/El Nuevo Herald

Jesús Vega Especial/El Nuevo Herald
Read more here: http://www.elnuevoherald.com

Gonzalo Rubalcaba abre el 2012 con el segundo registro de su firma 5Passion. En XXI Century nos dedica un amplio repertorio que abarca desde el mítico Bill Evans, Paul Bley y Lenny Tristano, hasta piezas propias. Lo acompaña un grupo que es complemento perfecto: Marcus Gilmore (percusión), Matt Brewer (bajo), Leonel Leouke (guitarra), Pedro Martínez (percusión y voz) y el virtuoso Ignacio Berroa (percusión). Aunque es tan reciente que sólo se puede adquirir en formato MP3 en tiendas de Internet, ya demuestra una vez más que, como dijera The Boston Globe, es un “Bud Powell para el siglo XXI”.•  ‘Gonzalo Rubalcaba. XXI Century’. 5Passion. En formato MP3.

Read more here: http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2011/12/25/1089572/gonzalo-rubalcaba-xxi-century.html#storylink=cpy

Gonzalo Rubalcaba releases “XXI Century”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba releases “XXI Century”, his second offering for 5Passion . “XXI” finds Gonzalo in an ensemble setting, featuring Marcus Gilmore on Drums, Matt Brewer on Upright and Electric Bass, Lionel Leouke on Guitar, Pedro Martinez on Percussion and Voice, and Ignacio Berroa on Drums. Over 120 minutes of fantastic music, this album visits many musical worlds. There’s sure to be something on this disc for everyone.  Included are compositions by Lionel Leouke, Matt Brewer, Bill Evans, Paul Bley, Lennie Tristano, Enrique Ubieta and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

The Spiritual Journey of Gonzalo Rubalcaba Jazziz July 2011 Digital Edition Story by Bob Weinberg

Faith and Passion….
Cuban exile Gonzalo Rubalcaba forges ahead with a new album and label
By Bob Weinberg

Several years ago, Gonzalo Rubalcaba was touring Europe with his Cuban quintet. After a concert at the New Morning jazz club in Paris, the pianist and some of his bandmates repaired to a nearby restaurant for dinner. At some point, Rubalcaba became aware that a diner at another table was watching him. Finally, the man approached Rubalcaba and, in no uncertain terms, told him what he thought of his performance that evening, “You should play more of the music that represents you,” the would-be critic, also Latin American, admonished, “You’re trying to be an intellectual, like Keith Jarrett or McCoy Tyner, and you’re totally wrong,” “He made a huge statement about that,” says Rubalcaba, relating the event in May – just a few days before his 48th birthday – over dinner at YOLO, a trendy bar-restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, “Then I understood.  The problem is that sometimes we, as Latin people, believe that [people from] other countries see us as minimal. It’s not the whole truth, The truth is splintered between how other countries see us and how we see ourselves,” Certainly, Rubalcaba’s most-recent recording – a gorgeous, heartfelt solo-piano meditation titled Fe (Faith) – won’t quiet critics who believe Latin jazz artists should play only danceable party music. After a long, successful run on Blue Note, and its Japanese affiliates EMI-Toshiba/Somethin’ Else, the pianist has newfound freedom to play what he chooses – he’s now releasing his recordings on his own 5Passion imprint. Pronounced “cinco pasion,” the label puns on the word syncopation, Rubalcaba’s business partner – and Fe’s executive producer – Gary Galimidi, is also on hand this night at YOLO.  A Cuban who grew up in Miami, Galimidi translates into English some of Rubalcaba’s more complex thoughts, which the pianist feels more comfortable relating in Spanish.  After some 15 years living in South Florida, Rubalcaba has a decent command of English, but he wants to be sure he’s completely understood, something that’s never an issue when he speaks through his music. Unshackled from the constraints of corporate bean counters, Rubalcaba has released a 79-minute recording of unaccompanied piano music. He improvises on selections from Coltrane to Caturla and composes his own highly personal musical expressions about faith and spirituality. Rich and complex, the music evokes AfroCuban roots as well as the modern-jazz idiom, even as it bespeaks Rubalcaba’s rigorous classical training. While he’s recorded without backup musicians before – notably, 2006’s Latin Grammy winning Solo on Blue Note -the pianist seems to be making a statement: He won’t remain confined by anyone’s claims on his identity, be they label execs, audience members or those who would use him to further their own political or cultural agendas.

Rubalcaba has wrestled with perceptions throughout his remarkable career. When the Cuban native first performed at Miami’s Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in 1996, members of the exile community vehemently protested, spitting at concertgoers, pelting them with bottles and literally beating them over the head with a Cuban flag.  Expatriate Cuban jazz stars such as Paquito d’Rivera publicly scolded the pianist for not being a more vocal critic of the Cuban government. While Rubalcaba had since moved to the Dominican Republic – before relocating to South Florida – his mother and father still lived on the island under the watchful eyes of the Castro regime. Understandably, he feared for their safety.  A resident of the sprawling suburban community of Coral Springs, where he’s raised three kids a county away from the madness of Miami-Dade’s exile inferno, Rubalcaba says the controversy has long since subsided. He performs infrequently in South Florida, and when he has appeared, protesters have not. “I haven’t seen any manifestations of that since that [first performance],” he says, mentioning trouble-free concerts at the now-defunct Hollywood Jazz Festival, the newly minted Arsht Center in downtown Miami and a CD-release/label-launch party this spring in Homestead.  As one who’s felt the boot of the Castro regime on his neck, Rubalcaba fully understands the anger of the exiles, many of whom lost everything, not the least of which was their homeland.  And yet, while he detests the oppression of the Cuban government, Rubalcaba points out that he truly developed as an artist on the island, “One of my best periods of creativity and energy was living inside Cuba,” he says, “Nothing is black and white, There’s always been this effort to paint everything very dark ‘” but things have nuance.” Understandably, Rubalcaba was shy about approaching the piano as a very young child. His father, the multi-instrumentalist Guilhermos Rubalcaba, was something of a legend, having held the piano chair in Enrique Torrin’s Orchestra, Jam sessions featuring his father’s superstar friends – Frank Emilio, Barbarito Diez, Tata Güines, and a pre-Los Van Van Juan Formell, among numerous others – took place regularly at the house. Then, there was his brother Jesus, eight years Gonzalo’s senior and a dazzling talent, whose daily practice routine included pieces by Liszt, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Rubalcaba decided maybe he’d rather play drums, “The piano, for me, was for people with really amazing control of the two sides of their brain,” he says, “When I was a little kid, I asked my brother, ‘How can you read two thoughts at the same time?’  So, for me, drums, Afro-Cuban percussion, was really my pursuit.” As fate would have it, Rubalcaba’s dreams of becoming the next Chano Pozo were dashed when he was told by his instructors at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory that, at age 8, he was still too young to study percussion. They suggested he choose piano or violin. His mother swayed him toward the former, and after about two years, the 10-year-old Rubalcaba was hopelessly smitten -with the piano and with his teacher. “She was an amazing woman,” he rhapsodizes over the memory of Teresa Valiente.  “A beautiful woman, She had that ability to make people fall in love with the instrument. She had the tools to seduce you.” Many of the advisors at the conservatory at that time hailed from Eastern bloc countries such as Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. Rubalcaba estimates about 60 percent came from the Soviet Union, whose technically and intellectually demanding methodology dominated the curriculum. Counterpoint, harmony, theory and solfeggio training were all part of the regimen. Another part of his training, no doubt, would have infuriated the Soviets. Officially, rock-and-roll was deemed “the music of the enemy” and impossible to hear on sanctioned airwaves. But, like many Cuban youths, Rubalcaba and his buddies would secretly tune in to “la voz de las Americas” – American radio. He remembers “American Woman” by The Guess Who as a particularly popular selection. Jazzy, horn-fueled bands such as Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, The Ohio Players and especially Earth, Wind and Fire also caught his ear. All these influences, plus his plundering of Dad’s collection of 78s – including sides by everyone from Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie to Erroll Garner and Art Tatum combined to form a distinctive aesthetic, a sophisticated mix of indigenous Cuban and Latin styles with bebop, modern-jazz and fusion elements. Rubalcaba became exposed to more modern players, such as Keith Jarrett, through a Cuban radio program hosted by the father of percussion great Horacio “EI Negro” Hernandez. This expanded his horizons even further, as did a regular Sunday concert series held at the National Amphitheater in Havana. The series provided a showcase for complex new music by composers from Cuba, South America and Europe. By the early ’80s, while continuing his studies at the Instituto Superior de Arte, Rubalcaba was starting to gain attention as an artist outside the borders of the island nation. He had toured Africa and Europe with Orquesta Aragon, a Cuban musical institution that goes back to the 1930s. While they were greeted warmly – particularly in Congo and Zaire, where the pianist says audiences sang along with tunes from the group’s archival recordings – Rubalcaba would gain greater acclaim for playing his own music. In 1986, Gotz Worner, head ofthe German-based Messidor label, heard Rubalcaba perform with his seven-piece Grupo Proyecto at a festival held in the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana, the results of which were recorded by the Cuban Egrem label Worner bought the rights to the recording, which he subsequently mixed and released on two LPs (Regreso Feliz, vols. 1 and 2, later released on CD as Live in Havana). The album created a buzz in Germany, and Rubalcaba was invited to tour the country. Another album for Messidor followed, Mi Gran Pasion, which highlighted the popular Cuban danz6n, a musical style with which not many Europeans were acquainted. Worner was undaunted. “He was really open-minded:’ Rubalcaba says of the label chief. “He decided to run that risk to do that recording. When I proposed the album, he said, ‘Let’s go.”’

Rubalcaba’s fortunes truly soared thanks to a couple of Jazz legends that recognized his brilliance right away.

While staying at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Dizzy Gillespie wandered into the bar and heard Rubalcaba performing with his band. After the set, Gillespie invited the young pianist to join him and his big band the next day during their set at the 1985 Jazz Plaza Festival. He even proposed the pair perform a duet. When Diz asked Rubalcaba what they should play together, the young pianist answered immediately: “Con Alma.” Just the week before, he had discovered the song in a borrowed fake book, a precious commodity in Cuba. Following the performance, Gillespie declared Rubalcaba the best pianist he’d heard in 10 years. “I fell in love with the tune:’ Rubalcaba says of “Can Alma:’ which he’s recorded several times, including on Fe. “The name was in Spanish, and I saw the composer was Dizzy Gillespie. A week later, I met him.” Gillespie made arrangements to bring Rubalcaba to New York and present him at a Latin jazz festival in Central Park, but politics reared its ugly head. Rubalcaba’s request for a visa was rejected by the U.S. government. “Diz was really upset,” Rubalcaba remembers. “He wrote a letter that was published in The New York Times talking about how at this point, in this century, we still have these problems. We’re talking about a guy who’s 20-something years old, who loves American music.” Fortunately, Rubalcaba was able to capitalize on another fateful meeting with a jazz heavyweight. Thunderstruck by Rubalcaba’s talent, Charlie Haden, like Gillespie, immediately proffered an invitation to the pianist after hearing him play at the Jazz Plaza Fest in 1986. In the liners to Live in Havana, the bassist enthuses about Rubalcaba’s “unbelievable touch and command of the lower register…. The way he uses the bass of the piano reminds one of the way Rachmaninoff uses basses in an orchestra.” The very next day, Haden brought Rubalcaba to the famed Egrem studios, also in Havana, to record. The results must have been impressive. A few years later, Haden brought a cassette of the session to Blue Note Records chief Bruce Lundvall, who was inspired enough to travel to Cuba to sign Rubalcaba in 1990. Once again, politics intervened, as U.S. policy wouldn’t allow an American company to do business with a Cuban artist. Their solution? Have Rubalcaba sign with Blue Note’s partner in Japan, EMI, and allow them to introduce his music in the United States. A concert with Haden and drummer Paul Motian was arranged for the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990, as a way for EMI execs to evaluate Rubalcaba. Needless to say, they liked what they heard. An album of the Montreux concert, Discovery, was released. Rubalcaba had played with this dream rhythm team before, in Canada, which is far friendlier to Cuban artists than is the United States. So, when he was given the chance to select his bandmates for the concert in Montreux, Rubalcaba requested Haden and Motian. “At that moment, I felt a lot of pressure,” admits the pianist, who has since performed with Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, among many other jazz greats. “You feel like you have to be at the level of expectations. You have to complywith the ideas they have about you, and you feel it when they look at you. But it’s part ofthe respect. You feel that because you are respected by those people, and the history behind those people, and the history they represent. It’s a blessing. It’s a major compliment.”

Eventually, when the political rhetoric had cooled down and Rubalcaba was no longer living  in Cuba, he officially joined the storied ranks of Blue Note.

A string of critically and commercially successful albums ensued, starting auspiciously with 1991’s The Blessing, a trio recording with Haden and DeJohnette. His first U.S. concert took place at Lincoln Center in 1993, which opened the way to more Stateside bookings and international stardom. Along the way, he also participated on a couple of Haden’s high profile projects: 2001’s Grammy-winning Nocturne (Best Latin Jazz Performance) and 2004’s Land of the Sun, both for Verve. Rubalcaba played an essential role on both recordings. He helped Haden assemble the multicultural ensemble for Nocturne – including his good friend, Cuban drummer Ignacio Berroa, Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sanchez and South Florida-based Uruguayan violinist Federico Britos – and introduced the bassist to Mexican and Cuban boleros sung by Pablo Milanes. Rubalcaba reprised his role as arranger on Land ofthe Sun, and scored another Grammy. On albums such as 1999’s Inner Voyage and 2001’s Latin Grammy winning Supernova, Rubalcaba was given sparkling showcases for his extremely personal, genre-defying style. On the former, he included a track titled “Blues Lundvall,” a tribute to the Blue Note mogul who had played such an important role in his career. While he truly appreciates the enormous boost the venerable label provided, the pianist says he started to chafe at what he perceived to be commercial constraints, particularly as they related to expressing his Latin identity. “When I joined EMI, the Japanese loved what I was doing before,” he explains. “So they asked me to keep doing what I was doing. When I jumped from EMI to Blue Note, things changed a little. Bruce and the people around Blue Note believed that I should do an American repertoire and I started to play American music.” This was reflected on 2008’s Avatar; Rubalcaba’s last record for Blue Note. Utilizing a sextet including the Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry and New York drummer Marcus Gilmore, Rubalcaba dived into straight-ahead waters, with nods to hard-bop and funky, neo-trad NewYork-style jazz, which alternated with his quieter, more thoughtful ruminations. The album went to No. 11 on the Billboard charts, but Rubalcaba says he felt somewhat compromised. Now recording for his own sPassion imprint, the pianist can present himself the way he feels is right. That includes his own way of exploring his Latin roots, affording them the respect and dignity he believes they deserve. “It’s basically festive, happy music,” he allows. “But there’s another side.” Rubalcaba plans to follow Fe with a trio recording that will include Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke and Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez. Rubalcaba had introduced Loueke to Haden, when the bassist was seeking a distinctive guitar sound for Land of the Sun. He’s been looking for an excuse to work with Loueke ever since. He’s also been badgering Berroa for years to put together a group and material for a recording session under his own name. The drummer finally consented, and will also release an album for 5Passion. Agreeing that there have been some fairly remarkable developments in Cuba as of late – Castro-critical blogger Yoani Sanchez and the demonstrators Las Damas en Blanca would have been unthinkable a decade ago, as would certain economic reforms – Rubalcaba is cautiously optimistic about real change on the island. It’s ongoing, he says, but slow. Progress will always be impeded by the old men who don’t want to relinquish power. But freedom, as a citizen or as an artist, is the only way for people to advance, he says, even if there’s a price to be paid for swimming against the mainstream. “I think it’s very important to do everything possible to keep developing yourself,” Rubalcaba states. “When you do that, sometimes you have to renounce what the majority of the people want from you, in order to go where you think you need to go.” …

jazziz

Side Bar

The Shortest Concert I Ever Did

Searching for nonstandard material to record, Charlie Haden turned to his good friend Gonzalo Rubalcaba. At Haden’s request, Rubalcaba compiled boleros by Cuban singer Pablo Milanes and sent a recording to the bassist. A few days later, Rubalcaba remembers, Haden called him and said, “We gotta record that.” The results can be heard on Haden’s 2001 Grammy winning album, Nocturne. A selection of Cuban and Mexican boleros are delicately interpreted by the bassist and pianist along with saxophonists Joe Lovano and David Sanchez, guitarist Pat Metheny, violinist Federico Britos and drummer Ignacio Berroa. Naturally, playing this hushed, often-sublime music live would require careful vetting of venues and audiences. So, someone screwed up big-time when the group was booked to perform at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami during an outdoor music festival in the fall of 2001. Haden, Rubalcaba, Sanchez, Britos and Berroa went on as scheduled, but the blare from a salsa band on a competing stage drowned out their quiet, meditative music. Midway through the first song, a disgusted Haden walked off. “It was the shortest concert Iever did; Rubalcaba says, laughing at the memory. “Ignacio started cracking up. It was about three minutes on stage. Three minutes! I know Charlie and I knew that wasn’t the accurate place to do that kind of concert orthat kind of music. The band got paid anyway.” Fortunately, the group had another opportunity to present this sophisticated music to South Florida audiences when they played to a full house at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in 2002. This time, Haden made sure the sound was pristine, “the best I’ve heard at a South Florida jazz concert,” raved Sun-Sentinel arts writer Matt Schudel. By all accounts, the show was a huge hit with the audience, who rewarded the musicians with a thundering ovation. “I was really happy to see that; Rubalcaba says. “It was a moment to show people how flexible [Latin] music is.” – BW

 

 

 

 

CD Review: Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Faith (Fé) By Wilbert Sostre for JazzTimes

JazzTimes

 


 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a well recognized and respected name in the jazz scene. His classically trained background, along with his knowledge of Jazz and the music of his native Cuba, make him an equally impressive musician either playing art or popular music.

Faith is the premiere release on his newly founded 5Passion (cincopasión or sincopation) label. This is a solo piano album, a setting similar to a classical piano recital. Just Rubalcaba and his piano, and of course there is no need for anything else.

Faith starts with “Derivado 1”, a short piece with some dissonances that serves as an introduction to “Maferefun Lya Lodde Me”, a praise in the lucumi language to the orisha Oshun (Lucumi is a Yoruba dialect spoken by practitioners of the Santería religion in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic).

All throughout, Rubalcaba demonstrates his clean and impeccable technique product of his classical piano studies in Cuba. On “Improvisation 1 and 2”, based on the chord changes of John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Rubalcaba displays his virtuosity with fast piano runs and scalar improvisations reminiscent of Coltrane himself. The short phrases and use of dissonances also have some similarities to pianist Cecil Taylor.

“Derivado 2 and 3” are variations based on the second track “Maferefun Lya Lodde Me”. The sophisticated dissonant chords and the effectve playing in the high notes of the piano evokes the sounds of another jazz master, pianist Thelonious Monk.

“Con Alma 1 and 3” are delicate and elegant interpretations of Dizzy Gillespie’s composition, played with soul as the tittle suggest. Rubalcaba creates a perfect balance of emotion and virtuosity in the classically tinged piece “Preludio Corto # 2 (Tu Amor era Falso” and in the Miles Davis/Bill Evans classic “Blue in Green”.

Rubalcaba attack is more aggresive and percussive in “Oro”, an original composition that brings together classical and cuban music with touches of free jazz. Faith also includes three poetic and refined originals dedicated to Rubalcaba two daughters and son, “Joan”, ” Yolanda Anas” and “Joao”. These compositions were recorded originally on his album Inner Voyage.

Tracks: Derivado 1, Maferefun Lya Lodde Me, Improvisation 2, Derivado 2, Con Alma 1, Preludio Corto #2, Blue in Green 1, Oro, Joan, Joao, Yolanda Anas, Blue in Green 2, Con Alma 3, Improvisation 1, Derivado 3

Musicians: Gonzalo Rubalcaba – piano

 

Message to Japan From Gonzalo Rubalcaba

The recent events in Japan have cast a somber shadow over my spirit. My heart is heavy, and my thoughts are with all of you.  As I look back on the wonderful adventure I have lived among you, I am reminded of what I have learned from you, the people of Japan.

I have learned that we are the temple of the Great Spirit, and great imagination and opportunity abides within us. With the acceptance of which we are, with the awareness of the problems at hand, and with a commitment not only to ourselves but also to each other, we can and will triumph over any challenge. The rewards for those that persevere far exceed the pain that must precede the victory.

I have learned that a nation with Imagination is a nation with wings.  Imagination is the master of art as it is the master of life. Imagination will carry us to places that never were. Japan is great because of the dreams of its beautiful people.

I have learned that death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live. We can never let the music within us grow silent.

I have dedicated this performance of Imagine to you, the great people of Japan, and will pray for your quick recovery.

神さまが守るように

kami sama ga mamoru youni

 

Message to Japan From Gonzalo Rubalcaba

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