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Fabian Almazan Scores Big

With an acclaimed trio album in the bag, the pianist/composer looks toward the silver screen

Terence Blanchard Quintet at Belgrade 2009. From left: Michael Olatuja, Brice Winston, Blanchard, Kendrick Scott; Fabian Almazan not pictured (Photo: Dragan Tasic)
Fabian Almazan
Fabian Almazan

The Cuban-born, New York-based pianist and composer Fabian Almazan, 27, is developing the sort of career most young jazz musicians can’t fathom. Since 2007 he’s held the piano chair in the revered Terence Blanchard Quintet; when we speak for this piece, he’s just wrapped a wildly successful week headlining the Village Vanguard, in support of his acclaimed debut album, Personalities (Biophilia). “It was a dream come true,” he says of the gigs, which featured his trio with bassist Linda Oh and drummer Henry Cole, plus a string quartet. (He will return to the club with Oh and Cole Feb. 21-26.) “Everybody was really encouraging, and I learned a lot.”

Blanchard speaks of him in less modest terms. “Fabian is probably one of the great young talents of his generation,” the trumpeter says. “Once people really hear what he’s about and what he’s doing, they’re gonna be enriched.”

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