Articles | Popular | Future

LIVE REVIEWS

Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince, 2017 - Part 1

Read "Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince, 2017 - Part 1" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Part 1 | Part 2 Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 4-11, 2017 Haiti: the only nation in the world established as the result of a slave revolt; home of Vodou. Haiti: poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; subject to devastating hurricanes and earthquakes. Most potential visitors to Haiti are likely to focus on the second view of the country, especially after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake which caused massive building collapse ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Oh Vida! Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández at the 11th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival

Read "Oh Vida! Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández at the 11th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival" reviewed by Harry S. Pariser

Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández Herbst Theater Bay Area Flamenco Festival 2016 San Francisco, CA March 9, 2016 They met for the first time in Spain. One a Cuban-born jazz pianist, the other a Flamenco singer. Both were internationally acclaimed performers. They came together as part of the documentary film project Playing Lecuona --which celebrates the life of the great Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona--and then parted ways. The pianist, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, later ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Volcan: Volcan

Read "Volcan" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Whenever a musician strikes out on their own by forming their own label they're addressing the issue of control and consolidation. Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba went one better when he created 5passion. He consolidated, took control, and diversified his offerings. First came Fe (5passion, 2011)--a sanctified solo piano date that All About Jazz's Dan McClenaghan rightly called “an eighty-minute jazz prayer." XXI Century (5passion, 2012)--a trio-plus-guests date--followed, providing an expansive look at the places where rock, funk, Cuban traditions, and African ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: XXI Century

Read "XXI Century" reviewed by Mark Corroto

If Gonzalo Rubalcaba were a major league pitcher, he would be a seasoned veteran with the knowledge that to be effective he would have to be the master of multiple pitches. Gone are his rookie days when he could throw nothing but fastballs to get outs.Same for Gonzalo Rubalcaba, jazz pianist. Twenty-five years ago he wowed audiences with his powerful attack and blinding speed. As his sound has matured, he has begun communicating with more subtlety, throwing audiences ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Fe...Faith

Read "Fe...Faith" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Cuban-born/Miami-based pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba boasts a discography of some 25 albums, including a dozen discs for the esteemed Blue Note label. Having established star status for himself with numerous Grammy nominations and two wins, Rubalcaba steps out with the first release on his independent 5Passion label, Fe...Faith.Over the course of his career, Rubalcaba has worked with some of the best modern jazz players, including Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, but introduces his new record company ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Fe' ... Faith

Read "Fe' ... Faith" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

It's been ten years since pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba teamed up with Charlie Haden on Nocturne (Universal, 2001). Then a twenty-something Cuban virtuoso, Rubalcaba already had a decade of recordings behind him and was being compared to Keith Jarrett and Cecil Taylor. Now a Florida resident and with his own newly minted label, 5Passion, Rubalcaba releases Fé ... Faith, a solo collection and his finest work to date. Rubalcaba's playing style has typically been energetic and fiery and while ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Avatar

Read "Avatar" reviewed by Luis T. Martinez

Having matured and no longer needing to prove his chops to others or himself, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba has turned his attention to ensembling and orchestration, and in no other work is this more evident than Avatar. Only after multiple listens does it become clear how the compositions are driving the improvisations and not the other way around, and how the Cuban-born pianist/composer manages a wonderful balance between freedom, interpretation, and restraint, between composition, orchestration, and the soloing of his band ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Avatar

Read "Avatar" reviewed by J Hunter

Listening to Avatar--pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba's first release since 2006--is kind of like eating unshelled lobster: It takes hard work and a will of iron to get to the meat. And while that meat may be succulent to some, the taste may not be for everybody.

The problem originates with the “shell" that surrounds most of the seven tunes on Avatar. Rubalcaba gets some terrific performances from his quintet, and does his usual stellar job at the piano. Unfortunately, there was ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Avatar

Read "Avatar" reviewed by Jay Deshpande

Although his sound is as blazing and inspiring as ever, Gonzalo Rubalcaba's new album may mark something of a departure. Recorded at the famed New York studio of the same name, Avatar provides listeners with a unique melting pot of songs and styles, while also implying new freedom and possibility for the renowned Cuban pianist. Only one of the seven tunes on this album is a Rubalcaba original, but the majority are written by his bandmates. The virtuosic turn that ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Solo

Read "Solo" reviewed by David Miller

In recent recordings, Gonzalo Rubalcaba has reined in his considerable chops to pursue a more introspective direction, and Solo is a natural step in this direction. As the title hints, the recording finds Rubalcaba alone at his piano, ruminating. In this setting the pianist is more introspective than ever, frequently using silence as his means of expression. The only problem is, it doesn't necessarily work. Rubalcaba has always worn his Afro-Cuban influences on his sleeves. This album ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Solo

Read "Solo" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The metamorphosis of Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba has taken a gifted player from a fiery caterwauler to a nimble, introspective musician. His early recordings were fueled by youthful enthusiasm and the encouragement of the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette. Like his musical compatriot, the French phenom Jackie Terrasson, he has talent on loan from the jazz gods.

Twenty years later and now in his early forties, Rubalcaba reveals a more introspective side, one he ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Solo

Read "Solo" reviewed by Jim Santella

This solo piano album from Gonzalo Rubalcaba finds the artist searching. With themes from Afro-Cuban culture running through his performance, he improvises soulfully and at his own pace. As one of the jazz world's most exciting pianists, he's able to sit down, take his time, and let the ideas flow gently. Each piece represents a passionate ordeal, both introspective and lush.

Rubalcaba keeps his program under the radar for the most part. Quiet lullabies, gentle boleros and soft-spoken ...


Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.