@Critical Jazz Sunday, September 18, 2011 Review by Brent Black
An editor recently expressed an understandable concern over the use of the phrase “no good jazz is worth listening to on an ipod” The concern understandably rooted in the possible alienation of a certain segment of readers as well as giving the critic the appearance of being a “fuddy-duddy.”
Let’s face it, you don’t drink fine wine from a Dixie cup and you don’t listen to John Coltrane on 8-track.
Genius reviews itself…
Captivating, intriguing, almost addictive this recording is subtle and intimate in approach but grand in artistic scope. The sound quality is pristine which is essential in a solo piano recording. With styles that range from the subdued if not introspective to the bold and vibrant display of his Cuban heritage, Gonzalo firmly establishes himself as a modern day master of not only his instrument but of his own destiny with such an artistic triumph. Rubalcaba has had a prodigious output of recordings, 35 to be exact and none finer than “Fe…Faith.”
Aside from original compositions and a celebration of his own musical heritage, Rubalcaba takes on improvisations based on the work of John Coltrane and his mentor Dizzy Gillespie with stellar results. Rubalcaba pays homage to Coltrane with “Improvisation 2″ which kicks off with the chord changes from the master work “Giant Steps.” A Gillespie tribute is “Con Alma 1″ which opens with a dark almost brooding feel before moving to a more thoughtful melodic approach played in the middle register.
An incredibly personal work drawn from Rubalcaba’s wealth of musical knowledge and expression and a sincere desire to transcend the self imposed sonic barriers that separate jazz, classical and more popular styles, Rubalcaba bears his musical soul and with astonishing results.
The label here ( 5Passion ) is as much the story as the release as Rubalcaba states with great pride, ” It is my vision that 5Passion will one day be known as a record label affording artists a friendly environment in which to record their visionary music, without compromising their integrity for commercial consideration and constraining them from realizing their potential in all aspects of their professional lives.”
This statement alone can stand as the perfect review of this release.
Grand texture and a bold sonic color palette gives “Fe…Faith” a musical richness seldom heard today.
Artistic genius at its very best. A modern day Monk? Maybe…One of the finest releases of the year? No doubt!