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Harold López-Nussa: Un Día Cualquiera (Mack Avenue)

Review of latest album by the Cuban pianist

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Cover of Harold López-Nussa's Un Día Cualquiera
Cover of Harold López-Nussa’s Un Día Cualquiera album

Pianist Harold López-Nussa continues to hone his unique version of folk-jazz, intimately drawn from the conservatories and barrios of his native Cuba, where he still resides. Un Día Cualquiera translates into “Just Another Day,” and depicting the typical joys, struggles, and beliefs informing all of our lives is his intention here, with the understanding that Cuban life is what he knows best.

He opens with a fanfare, the whirlwind “Cimarrón,” an original composition he first recorded back on A New Day in 2013. But then he steers toward the soul of Cuba with “Danza de los Nañigos,” the first of two covers by Ernesto Lecuona, known as the “Gershwin of Cuba” for the amiable sophistication and indigenous influences of his jazz/pop/classical hybrids. That’s followed by a lovely tribute to the pianist Bebo Valdés (Chucho’s father), “Una Tarde Cualquiera en Paris,” which captures the lively elegance and flow of Bebo’s approach to the ivories. This is where we first notice the woodier tone of Cuban Gaston Joya, who replaces the Senegalese bassist Alune Wade in López-Nussa’s trio, beside his brother, Ruy Adrian López-Nussa, on drums.

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