“Supernova” Liner Notes
GONZALO RUBALCABA: he is a luminary among musicians. A pianist-composer ,ensemble leader-recording artist, blazing an unparalleled arc in the 21st-century firmament, Rubalcaba makes music of substance that’s enlightening, enriching and enlivening in this moment. Supernova is a point of shining excellence in his path to an as-yet-unlimited apex. It’s also his most revealing recording to date of his Cuban musical heritage; its African, European and the Caribbean sources, and the music’s unfolding potential in the ever-changing New World. Pursuing precedents set by his 20th-century countrymen Alejandro Garcia Caturla and Amadeo Roldan, Rubalcaba asserts through both his compositions and far-ranging improvisations that all his island nation’s unique indigenous styles, from the elegant Danzon to the balladic bolero to the earthy son, share tangled roots, which, when interwoven, have unusual flexibility andstrength. Applying ultra-modern jazz sensibilities and a virtuosic vocabulary to the classical and vernacular genres he mastered as a childprodigy in Havana, Rubalcaba is on a mission to fix Afro-Cuban-American music where it belongs, among the most prominent constellations in the sky. Fueled by such aspirations, his performances gleam with diamond-like facets, variously bright, warm, cool, smoldering and hot. Each of his pieces sparkle with nuance—as if an arch of the eyebrow, shrug of the shoulder or shift of the hipsaccompanied flashing fingers, which might spin most anything into spontaneous, lyrical song. Gorgeous melodies, far-flung harmonies and rampant polyrhythms connote the life Rubalcaba has observed over more than 15 years of traversing the globe, making music on command for discerning audiences in first-rank clubs, festivals and concert halls. His reflections are romantic, wry, poetic and refined, but can often be dark. He plays with an experttouch beautiful ideas and finely-focused energy.