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Gonzalo Rubalcaba

A virtuoso jazz pianist from Cuba, Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s mastery of polyrhythms and dense chord voicings appears effortless. Born in Havana in 1963, Rubalcaba comes from a very musical family; his father played piano and founded an important music school in the 1930s. Rubalcaba studied classical piano extensively during 1971-83, worked with Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna during 1982-84, toured France and Africa with the Orquesta Aragon in 1983, and played piano with Los Van Van during 1984-87. In 1985, he formed the Grupo Projecto and had an opportunity to jam with Dizzy Gillespie. Rubalcaba played the Havana Jazz Festival in a trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian in 1986, a turning point in his career. Haden sang his praises, helped arrange for the pianist to play at the Montreal and Montreux festivals, and recorded two albums with him that became available on Blue Note, Discovery and The Blessing. All of that attention resulted in Rubalcaba becoming well-known in the American jazz scene a few years before he was actually free to play in the U.S. During 1993-94 he made his first long-awaited American tour, performing with his quartet Cuarteto Cubano. He immigrated to South Florida in 1996. In addition to his own recordings for Blue Note, Gonzalo Rubalcaba has recorded with Charlie Haden, Bob Belden, Jane Bunnett’s Spirits of Havana, Ron Carter, Al Di Meola, Pat Martino, and Joe Lovano.