The second posthumously released duo album featuring Charlie Haden. The first last year was with Jim Hall recorded in Montreal in 1990. This latest one, poetically titled as Tokyo Adagio, is more recent, Haden duetting with the Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and draws from a March 2005 Blue Note Tokyo club four-night residency. The polite audience reaction and applause is respectful and the sound of a few knives and forks neither here nor there in the background not distracting: the album feels lived in, which is far better than clinical.
Antiguo is different than most Gonzalo Rubalcaba records. The pianist spends a lot of time exploring synthesizers. Rubalcaba and his longtime quartet (trumpeter Reynaldo Melian, bassist Felipe Cabrera, and drummer Julio Barreto) are joined in spots by the voices of Maridalia Hernandez and Lazaro Ros, percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo, and violinist Dagoberto Gonzalez.
Gonzalo Julio Gonzalez Fonseca was born in post-revolutionary Havana into a musical family rich in the traditions of the country’s artistic past. During his childhood, in addition to the standard fare of elementary schools, Gonzalo absorbed the Cuban musical heritage of his nascent environment through personal contacts within his family, notably his father, pianist Guillermo Rubalcaba and his two brothers (pianist and bassist) as well as from leading musicians who were frequent houseguests: Frank Emilio, Peruchin, Felipe Dulzaides and others. He also assimilated, through scarce and treasured recordings, the tunes and styles of 40's – 70's US jazz masters: Thelonius Monk,Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson among pianists; and instrumentalists Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey…
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.
After taking the jazz world by storm with his exciting debut CD on Blue Note in 1991, Gonzalo Rubalcaba continued to delight his fans throughout the decade with one great recording after another. "Yolanda Anas," "Joan," and "Joao" – each one a tribute to one of his children – are intimate musical portraits that have a childlike simplicity, but also memorable melodies that linger in the mind. A salute to Blue Note president Bruce Lundvall is a complex post-bop blues featuring fierce solos by tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and bassist Jeff Chambers.
On the ambitious CD XXI Century, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba continues to develop the ideas of modernity and fusion hinted at on previous recordings, with greater depth and breadth. Smartly accompanied by his trio of bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Marcus Gilmore, and augmented on certain tracks by guests, Rubalcaba moves with ease between styles and approaches, personal history and big concepts.
Paseo is unique among Rubalcaba's discography in that he revisits directly the music of his homeland. Not that he hasn't always operated within the Afro-Cuban mode; but here, years after his emigration to America, he has struck up an intelligent and challenging conversation with the music that is now a part of the very foundations of his culture and likewise his personal development. The mere act signifies that he has enough confidence in his own wisdom and originality to tinker with the fundamentals. He also feels he's matured sufficiently to tackle some of his own material for a second time ("Santo Canto" from 1992's Rapsodia , for instance), even retitling "Supernova II" as "Quasar."