Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Paseo (Blue Note)
This one will catch Rubalcaba watchers by surprise. After the soporific Nocturne with bassist Charlie Haden, pianist G.R. came back with Supernova that was so-so. Paseo is a different breed of cat once again. The quiet introspection of the past few years has morphed into a more adventurous exploration into some “fusion-oid” offerings on electric piano, used sparingly for the most part. The mood swings are gradual and the material flows despite the change in vibe from Cuban traditional melodies to abstract structured, but robust improvisations around original material. Rubalcaba’s regular Cuban trio with Armando Gola on electric bass and flawless drummer, Ignacio Berroa, is augmented by Cuban Luis Felipe Lamoglia on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones who, truthfully, steals the show. Where did this guy come from?!
As usual, Rubalcaba employs gorgeous melodies and combines them with rampant polyrhythms. He applies ultra-modern jazz sensibilities to the virtuosic vocabulary he developed while studying folk and classical music in his homeland as a child prodigy. This is an important recording and a new milestone for this enigmatic genius.