Gonzalo Rubalcaba

 

The All-Star Group  VOLCAN

feat. Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano)

José Armando Gola (bass)

Horacia "El Negro" Hernandez (drums)

or

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quartet - Tribute to Charlie Haden

       feat. Matt Brewer

Gonzalo Rubalcaba (p) • Will Vinson (sax) • Jeff Ballard (dr) • Matt Brewer (b)

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 One of the most important figures to emerge from Afro-Cuban jazz in the 90s, Gonzalo Rubalcaba is an extraordinarily versatile pianist able to blend disparate strands of Cuban and American jazz tradition into a fresh, modern whole. Born in a musical family in Havana 1963, Rubalcaba began studying classical piano at age eight, honing his technique in that area for the next 12 years while playing around Havana by night.

In 1983 he toured France and Africa with Cuba's longstanding Orquestra Aragon, and formed his own band, Grupo Proyecto, in 1985, the same year he was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie. In 1986 he played the Havana Jazz Festival with the American rhythm section of Charlie Haden and Paul Motian, and with Haden's support soon appeared at major international festivals like Montreal and Montreux.

Rubalcaba's early dates for Blue Noter were instant classics, breaking him among American jazz audiences and showcasing his virtuosic technique and dense improvisations. He was finally able to play for American audiences beginning 1993, including a star-making appearance at Lincoln Center, and soon emigrated from Cuba (though not to the US right away; he eventually settled in South Florida in 1996).

In 1996 Rubalcaba shared the title of Artist in residence at the Montreal Jazz Festival with fellow pianist Chucho Valdés.

Gonzalo is currently touring either solo, with the All-Star VOLCAN Trio, or his deep-felt Tribute to Charlie Haden featuring his original quartet.

(Bio by Steve Huey)