All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

161

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio: Supernova

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
The title of Gonzalo Rubalcaba's latest trio effort bears heavy ironic overtones. While the heavenly flash of light makes regular appearances on Supernova, most of this disc consists of extremely well-grounded pieces with earthy flavors. Like it or not, every single piece here has an intense rhythmic focus. That emphasis on rhythm has been Rubalcaba's signature sound; he expands it here within a variety of moods and styles drawing from North American jazz just as well as traditional Cuban musical forms.

Rubalcaba plays with a fresh, crispy edge on Supernova. One has the sense that each note is a discovery, and the pianist is always deliberately striding forward to get where he wants to be. Though capable of inhuman virtuosity, he mostly holds back here to facilitate a more open group sound. Take the two "Supernova" pieces, for example: accent and filigree occupy the place of fleet runs or rapid-fire chordal punches. It's been said before, but Rubalcaba often plays the piano as an instrument of rhythm, and this effect makes itself most abundantly clear on the pieces which draw most heavily from Latin music sources. It's hard to find much to criticize on Supernova: the rhythm section is impeccable and completely fluent with all the dialects at Rubalcaba's disposal. The pianist himself plays deliberately, precisely, and with a lively flair. The occasional percussion additions by Rubalcaba and the Quinteros only enrich the depth of texture on the pieces where they appear. Rubalcaba's work on the keyboards here is mercifully brief—it's hard to understand why he would choose to use such a flaccid voice for this punchy kind of music. While ballads like the languid "Alma Mia" may seem a bit indulgent, they work just fine if you're in the right mood. I personally would like to hear Rubalcaba in a setting with richer percussion, so he could step out in front a bit more often and take more risks. But he's clearly mastered the trio format, and he makes that fact abundantly clear on Supernova.


Track Listing: Supernova 1; El Cadete Constitucional; Alma Mia; LaVoz Del Centro; El Manicero; Supernova 2; Otra Mirada; The Hard One; Oren.

Personnel: Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Title: Supernova | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Brother Raymond CD/LP/Track Review
Brother Raymond
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Frescalalto CD/LP/Track Review
Frescalalto
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Motion CD/LP/Track Review
Motion
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 22, 2018
Read El Duende CD/LP/Track Review
El Duende
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "Genesis, Mystery And Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis, Mystery And Magic
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read "With You In Mind" CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Doug Collette
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Double Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Double Mirror
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 15, 2018
Read "Leading The British Invasion" CD/LP/Track Review Leading The British Invasion
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 30, 2017