# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Alfredo Rodriguez - Sounds of Space

  by Lisa Torem

published: 26 / 2 / 2012



Alfredo Rodriguez - Sounds of Space
Label: Mack Avenue Records
Format: CD

intro

Astonishing combination of classical, be bop and Latin music on debut album from Cuban pianist, Alfredo Rodriguez


Alfredo Rodriguez first explored percussion at age seven before, at ten, claiming piano as his muse. Early years were spent studying in classical conservatories in his native Cuba, but playing with his father’s band after the age of fourteen, also influenced his career. His father, who ran a TV show, worked with many famous Cuban musicians. This gave Rodriguez an opportunity to devise arrangements for a myriad of musical styles. It was not until he heard a Keith Jarrett recording, though, that he would discover improvisation. Speaking about that recording, Rodriguez says: “ 'The Koln Concert' changed my life. I realized that was what I wanted to do: just sit and play. And not only musical ideas; music doesn’t come only from music. It can reflect and speak to what surrounds us.” In 2006, after he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the founder, Claude Nobs, asked him to play for Quincy Jones, who ended up co-producing Rodriguez's debut, 'Sounds of Space'. The title was inspired by a quote by Cuban writer, Jose Marti, who was a major force in the composer’s work. To support this release, Rodriguez and his trio will perform internationally. 'Sounds of Space' touches on many genres and emotions. The first selection, ‘Qbafrica’, is dedicated to Quincy Jones, a producer known for his devotion to world music. The composition starts out, straight away, with electrifying rhythms. These first-of-eleven tunes soon segue into a heady dream sequence only rivaled by brisk percussion. Liquid runs stomp, float and then briefly resolve only to strongly bust cleanly out once more. A bold note gets torpedoed by a clash of exhilarating chords – for a total cacophony of pentatonic madness. ‘Sueno De Paseo’ is a sweeping melody that could stand alone, but instead, gets engaged to Ernesto Vega’s mournful soprano sax. Rodriguez gracefully detours, yet leaves plenty of room for Vegas to rejoin him. In ‘Silence’, the frenzied immediacy of Gaston Joya’s jagged bass belies the title. Gorgeous comping foreshadows more intricate voicings. Some uncanny piano runs invite the rest of the ensemble to shine. ‘Cu-Bop’ takes its glorious time setting the funky melody line into motion, and true to the title, it delivers: it is a swaggering hybrid of Charlie Parker (Rodriguez would argue Bud Powell) and Latin swing with a touch of ‘Salt Peanuts.’ Says Rodriguez: “It’s my idea of how bop would have sounded in Cuba if he [Bud Powell] had been born there.” The slowly evolving ‘April’ becomes an elegant, cinematic soundscape and could double as a classical etude or fugue. It is complex: both a freewheeling and stringent framework. Fortunately, Rodriguez has chops that match his boundless imaginings. It is the first of a few strikingly, gorgeous solo piano pieces. ‘Oxygen’ fills up the room with explosive rubato patterns: some surprising blues licks drop by, and then exit without warning. It is here that Peter Slavov (bass) and Francisco Mela (drums) drum up the heat. A classic Latin bass line drives ‘Sounds of Space’. Ernesto Vega’s double-threat clarinet and sax pump up the contemporary melody: what evolves is a rich, austere mix. ‘Crossing the Border’ is another solo piano composition loaded with infectious movement and only embellished with sparse clave. Rodriguez commits an act of pure genius: his hands stomp and jazz waltz midsong, but the sonic, story remains strong. It does recast, quite effusively, the anxiety Rodriguez endured when coming to America. ‘…Y Balaria La Negra?’ ruminates with muted woodwinds and heavy dissonance. Vega’s clarinet spars as Rodriguez and his keys glisten. The see saw rhythms remain crystal clear despite the warring layers. ‘Transculturation’ includes a vibrant call and response between Rodriguez and Vega, which escalates as Joya (bass) and Olivera (percussion) launch a strategic, counter attack. ‘Fog’ enjoys the inclusion of the Santa Cecilia Quartet. As two opposing lines develop, Rodriguez sweetens his touch. His restraint and the quartet’s textures allow for a shimmering reverie. 'Sounds of Space' is an astonishing, piano-driven debut which crosses paths with classical, be bop and Latin music. Alfredo Rodriguez and Quincy Jones should be proud of their new-found partnership.



Track Listing:-
1 Qbafrica
2 Sueno De Paseo
3 Silence
4 Cu-Bop
5 April
6 Oxygen
7 Sounds Of Space
8 Crossing The Border
9 ...Y Bailaria La Negra? (A Ernest)
10 Transculturation
11 Fog


Band Links:-
http://www.alfredomusic.com/
https://twitter.com/alfredomusic
https://www.facebook.com/alfredorodriguezmusic
https://www.youtube.com/user/alfredorsmusic
https://plus.google.com/104851129589801359074
https://www.instagram.com/alfredormusic/


Label Links:-
https://www.mackavenue.com/
https://www.facebook.com/mackavenue
https://twitter.com/mackavenuemusic
https://www.youtube.com/user/mackavenue
https://www.instagram.com/mackavenuerecords/



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interviews


Interview (2012)
Alfredo Rodriguez - Interview
Cuban jazz pianist and composer Alfredo Rodriguez talks to Lisa troem about his album, 'Sounds of Space', which was co-produced by Quincy Jones


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