243

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Supernova

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Cuban Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba burst onto the American jazz scene in the early 1990s with his over-caffeinated piano gymnastics. To be fair to the young performer, he had musical talent beyond his years, and with the State Departments restrictions on his appearances in the US he would squeeze an entire tour into one night’s concert. Since being allowed to move to the U.S. his music has relaxed, allowing him to develop at a somewhat sane pace.

He recorded Flying Colors, a session of duets with saxophonist Joe Lovano in 1997, a synthesizer and keyboards album Antiqua ala Chick Corea, and most recently Nocturne (Verve), a romantic slow-dance session of Cuban and Mexican tunes with Charlie Haden. Rubalcaba has branched out from his pyrotechnic-laden beginning as if in defiance of his critics to prove that he has soul.

Supernove proves the pianist has plenty of heart rooted in a traditional Cuban music past and a head pointed into a diverse North American future. This recording starts at the Buena Vista Social Club, performing music of his paternal grandfather Jacobo Rubalcaba. “El Cadete Constituitional” (or The Constituitional Cadet) opens as a throwback to early Cuban jazz, only to march to an ending with a very modern synthesizer solo. Rubalcaba’s roots run deep, and he displays them with much pride here. He applies the Mexican standard “Alma Mia” with an honest melancholy lyricism, and takes back the promise of bebop on “LaVoz Del Centro.” He hasn’t lost his desire for furious runs as he ignites on the aptly titled “The Hard One,” with bit of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” sampled for flavor. The title track parts one and two, performed by a very tight trio, sum up his musical stance this new millenium. He utilizes styles from his native land to Africa and Europe in a jazz tradition of varying rhythms and time into a wow-factored trio interplay. The record closes with the environmental piece “Oren” (or Pray) a drums heavy piano/synthesizer piece with a nod to the future.


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

More Articles

Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Latin Lover CD/LP/Track Review Latin Lover
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Reclamation CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read The Princess CD/LP/Track Review The Princess
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "N.O. Escape" CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Lookin' East" CD/LP/Track Review Lookin' East
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Notes Over Poetry" CD/LP/Track Review Notes Over Poetry
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Unfiltered Universe" CD/LP/Track Review Unfiltered Universe
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 29, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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

Please support out sponsor