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Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Paseo

Jim Santella By

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With his new Cuban quartet, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba has re-emerged in a creative session marked by the melding of tradition with growing forces. The fiery pianist's desire to wake up modern jazz has always proven fruitful and innovative. This time out, he shows that a healthy creative spirit will provide new directions when given the opportunity.

Rubalcaba has said, "I used to do an album or two a year, but that pace doesn't give you the opportunity to think—you have to produce. However, I want the opportunity to think, as well."

With Ignacio Berroa, Armando Gola and Felipe Lamoglia, the pianist re-creates his music with depth of emotion and an outpouring of passion. The sound is contemporary. The roots are traditional Cuban. And the result tugs at your heartstrings.

Rubalcaba cascades with soothing showers when desired and pumps up the rhythmic spirit elsewhere. The title track, "Paseo Con Fula," takes his audience on a journey through childhood memories of street celebration and happy occasions. We all carry those precious memories around with us. Happy faces and warm embraces are usually accompanied by festive music. Here, the pianist combines those distant memories with a contemporary musing. With acoustic piano or keyboards, he's inclined to speak out with a free spirit. The music lets you turn loose the ties that bind. Relax and enjoy. Translated, the piece means "Walk With Fula," the composer's dog. Hey, it works. Take a walk, forget all your troubles, and let the creative spirit take over.

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

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