GONZALO RUBALCABA TRIO

photography by © Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas

…..The second night of the festival closed with the vertiginous rhythms and tempos of Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and his trio, which includes fellow countrymen Armando Gola on electric bass and Ludwig Afonso on drums. Displaying a remarkable agility with both hands and a masterful command of the post-bop and Afro-Cuban idioms, Rubalcaba captivated the audience since the very first minute through Pat Metheny’s “Hermitage”, which was delivered with superior melodic and rhythmic sensibilities. The trio attempted to defy gravity through intense, energetic tunes such as “Volcan”, filled with intricate unisons and pulsating undertows for a more experimental post-bop setting; and “Sin Punto”, notably funkified at its core while adhering to odd meters and a samba-like rhythm that restores the invigorating mood of Chick Corea’s music from the late 60s and early 70s.
The pianist dove deep into his roots when interpreting “El Cadete Constitucional”, a piece written in the 30s by his grandfather Jacobo Rubalcaba and previously recorded on the album Supernova (2001) with his former trio; and also Chucho Valdés’ “Pónle La Clave”, in which Gola helped to cultivate the fusion ‘culture’ by remaining in funk mode. The pianist ended the concert with one of his most emblematic compositions, “Nueva Cubana”, leaving everyone in the room with a smile on the face and overflowing with energy.