Artists Back

Gonzalo Rubalcaba

 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba

On Tour


Autumn 2018

& Spring 2019


May 27, 1963…Gonzalo Julio Gonzalez Fonseca was born in post-revolutionary Havana into a musical family rich in the traditions of the country’s artistic past. During his childhood, in addition to the standard fare of elementary schools, Gonzalo absorbed the  Cuban musical heritage of his nascent environment through personal contacts within his family, notably his father, pianist Guillermo Rubalcaba and his two brothers (pianist and bassist). 

He also assimilated, through scarce and treasured recordings, the tunes and styles of 40’s – 70’s US jazz masters: Thelonius Monk, Bud Powll, Oscar Peterson among pianists; and instrumentalists Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakery. Gonzalo loved drumming and early in his career studied both piano and drums. Despite the diversity of his background, Gonzalo’s initial formal musical training was entirely classical. He began his training at Manuel Saumell Conservatory at age 9, where he finally chose the piano as his main instrument. He moved up to middle-school and finally earned his degree in music composition from Havana's Institute of Fine Arts in 1983.


By that time he was already playing in clubs and music halls in Havana. He toured France and Africa with Orquestra Aragon in 1980 and introduced his own Grupo Projecto to the North Sea and Berlin Festivals in 1985. Egrem Studios of Havana was the first to record his music during the early and mid ’80’s and these discs, Inicio, an album of piano solos and Concierto Negro, are still available. Beginning in 1986 Gonzalo began recording for Messidor of Frankfurt, Germany and put out three highly acclaimed albums for that label with his Cuban Quartet entitled Mi Gran Pasion, Live in Havana, and Giraldilla. On the strength of these works Gonzalo began attracting international attention and in 1986 a chance meeting in Havana with bassist Charlie Haden brought him to the attention of Blue Note Records' president, Bruce Lundvall, and thus began an association which resulted in 14 discs being released. 

Further works eventually brought Gonzalo both a Latin Grammy for Jazz Album of the Year, Supernova, as well as a Grammy for co-production with Charlie Haden on Nocturne, a Verve release of Cuban and Mexican boleros and ballads. Gonzalo has to his credit 15 Grammy nominations, including five for Jazz Album of the Year, Rapsodia in 1995, Antiguoand Inner Voyage in 1999, Supernova in 2002, Avatar in 2008.

Among recent honors, in June 2001 Gonzalo received the SFJAZZ Leaders Circle Laureate Award and in 2002 he performed as Artist-in-Residence at the Montreal Jazz Festival together with Chuco Valdez. Gonzalo has performed with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Ignacio Berroa, Chick Corea, Al DiMeola, Herbie Hncock, Charlie Haden, Katia Labeque, Richard Galliano, Isaac Delgado, Dennis Chambers, Ron Carter, John Patitucci, Ivan Linz and many others.


In 2018, Gonzalo continues to tour the world with various projects, both as a solo pianist in jazz and classical settings and as band leader, employing the worlds top side men in club and concert engagements. His active repertoire has continued to expand beyond straight-ahead, Afro-Cuban and other forms of jazz into the worlds of traditional Cuban and Mexican ballads, boleros and Cuban classical works. He has developed his own very distinctive voice, challenging the traditional musical classifications of the day. In whichever idiom he works, his future musical creations will be melodious, rhythmic, exciting and bear in their intriguing intricacies the artist’s inherent intention of transforming the daily routines of our lives into something more beautiful and significant.


L'agenda à venir de l'artiste