305

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Paseo

By

Sign in to view read count
Paseo, the title of virtuoso Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba's first album as a leader in three years, means "walk" or "stroll" in English.

And that's what he does throughout the record with his New Cuban Quartet.

Rubalcaba examines his musical roots as if he were walking through his hometown for the first time in many years. He plays tunes that conjure up images of exuberant youths at local playgrounds, intense teenagers exposed to the newness of the streets, and adults amidst familiar surroundings. It's a stroll that varies in tempo as it reflects the conflicting emotions of any homecoming: often joyous, occasionally agonizing.

The album begins with "El Guerrillero," a Cuban folk song. Rubalcaba states the opening melody with the spry, dancing touch of a child before soloing in an introspective Bill Evans style. Then he gleefully deconstructs the rhythmic and harmonic structure of the most clichéd Afro-Cuban melody ever (a syncopated minor triad arpeggio) while comping underneath a playful saxophone solo by Luis Felipe Lamoglia.

A teenaged Rubalcaba used to play 20th century Cuban composer Hilario Gonzalez's composition "Preludio en Conga, #1" as a respite from Mozart and Beethoven. His homage to Gonzalez quotes the aforementioned piece on acoustic piano before exploding into a separate electric fusion workout. Lamoglia and electric bassist Jose Armando Gola provide inspired solos.

Rubalcaba also reprises tunes he has recorded before. "Bottoms Up" burns with a righteous Afro- Cuban groove from Gola and drummer Ignacio Berroa. "Meanwhile" continuously surprises as its winding structure unveils peculiar syncopations, dynamic changes, and inscrutable solos. The gorgeous ballad "Sea Change" emphasizes the quartet's melodic sophistication, harmonic space, and clean rhythmic lines. The haunting "Santo Canto" is even leaner than "Sea Change."

But it's the piece "Quasar," originally called "Supernova II" on Rubalcaba's last album Supernova, that sums up Paseo 's intent. Although there are new compositions on the record, Rubalcaba focuses on examining his previous musical choices through the eyes of a more mature musician. His stroll through the past unveils different paths and possibilities that show his development. Instead of being a supernova, or a short-lived burst of energy, he has become a quasar—an older celestial entity that possesses great power.


Track Listing: El Guerrillero; Preludio in Conga #1/Homage to Hilario; Bottoms Up; See, So Far; Paseo Con Fula; Meanwhile; Encantation; Quasar; Los Bueyes.

Personnel: Gonzalo Rubalcaba- piano, keyboards, percussion; Felipe Lamoglia- soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Armando Gola- electric bass; Ignacio Berroa- drums.

Title: Paseo | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Dawg Yawp" CD/LP/Track Review Dawg Yawp
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Peaceful Easy Feeling: The Songs of Jack Tempchin" CD/LP/Track Review Peaceful Easy Feeling: The Songs of Jack Tempchin
by Doug Collette
Published: September 3, 2017
Read "Mask Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Mask Dance
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Hauptbahnhof" CD/LP/Track Review Hauptbahnhof
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Heart Knows" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.