Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Saturday, June 9, 2012 8:00pm at Herbst Theatre
Gonzalo Rubalcaba, solo
Few jazz pianists are better equipped to deliver a breathtaking solo recital than Havana-born Gonzalo Rubalcaba. The conservatory-trained master has integrated huge swaths of the European classical and jazz traditions, while maintaining bone-deep ties to the rhythmic currents of Cuba. Rubalcaba quickly gained fame on the American scene in the early ‘90s through the efforts of famed bassist Charlie Haden, who was blown away by the young virtuoso. At first Rubalcaba distinguished himself with his bravura technique and hair-raising rhythmic prowess, but over the past decade he’s rigorously honed his approach, delivering dazzling passages that seem to careen through the entire history of Cuban music. Creatively, everything the pianist touches turns to gold. He’s earned 15 Grammy nominations and won two Grammy Awards for his ravishing collaborations with Haden on Verve, Nocturne and Land of the Sun, and two Latin Grammy Awards for Solo and Supernova (both on Blue Note). Solo piano is the ideal setting for the maestro’s exquisite touch, which you can hear on his sublime new album, Fé (Faith), as well as this much-anticipated SFJAZZ date.