265

Ruben Gonzalez: Introducing...Ruben Gonzalez

Derrick A. Smith By

Sign in to view read count
Most Cuban releases these days evoke the atmosphere of the dance hall, or the veranda of an Havana dwelling, depending on whether the music is in the big-band dancing format or one of the more folkloric string-oriented styles. This premiere full-length by Ruben Gonzalez, however, brushes the sepia and blues of an early 20th Century salon performance. Gonzalez' virtuosic style, lyric and harmonically-full, reveals the depth of 19th Century Romantic influence on the arc of Cuban music as well as the better-noticed African and Spanish folk elements.

Unlike some of the other World Circuit recordings in this series, the disc's strength is not in the more syncopated tracks, represented here by "La Enganadora" and "Cumbanchero". The septuagenarian Gonzalez describes his love of music as centering around melody, harmony, and variety - Introducing... steadily progresses along this preferred trajectory, the shift arriving in Gonzalez' own "Melodia Del Rio", a bolero reminiscent specifically of some of Bud Powell's less-fevered performances and in general of the jazz produced just before bebop became standardized.

Gonzalez has maintained his form and technique as Havana has crumbled through the years of revolution, embargo, and government neglect, working out on any tuned piano he could find. If this disc feels anachronistic, as if it should have been recorded on 78 rpm, it also reveals the personality of its primary performer, who ends his performance with "Como Siento Yo", "how he feels" condensed into a brief solo piano elegy. It is a powerful two minutes, as he evokes his undefined sadness, the arthritis in his fingers, a setting which can be opened with the keys.

Tracks: La Enganadora; Cumbanchero; Tres Lindas Cubanas; Melodia Del Rio; Mandinga; Siboney; Almendra; Tumbao; Como Siento Yo.

Personnel: Ruben Gonzalez (piano); Orlando 'Cachaito' Lopez (bass); Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal (trumpet); Amadito Valdes (timbales); Roberto Garcia (bongos, guiro, cowbell); Carlos Gonzalez (congas); Alberto 'Virgilio' Valdes (maracas); Carlos Puisseaux (guiro); Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea, Antonio 'Maceo' Rodriguez (chorus vocals); Richard Egues (flute).

| Record Label: World Circuit | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Crystal Moth" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Moth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Finding Love in an Oligarchy on a Dying Planet" CD/LP/Track Review Finding Love in an Oligarchy on a Dying Planet
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "Salt Task" CD/LP/Track Review Salt Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Dare To Be" CD/LP/Track Review Dare To Be
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!