An espresso with…
Alfredo Rodríguez

Image Credits: Alfredo Rodriguez © Luca Vantusso.

December 6, 2018

THE LITTLE DREAM

We have interviewed Alfredo Rodríguez at Ascona’s Jazz Cat Club, for the presentation of his last work The Little Dream.

 

You started to play in your father’s orchestra. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
I started playing music with my father when I was 12 years old. Being able to play in my father’s orchestra was very important to me. At the time, I was studying classical music, so when I was able to play in his orchestra it was a nice change to play Cuban popular music. It was really important to me to have the balance between Cuban music and classical music. My father had a television show in Cuba which allowed me the opportunity to arrange and play music with many artists from Cuba. So, I would go to school during the day and play classical music, and then play something very different at night with my father. It was so great to have such different ways of learning!
 
What brought you to go into exile from Cuba? How did your family judge this decision?Many things, but mainly I decided to exile from Cuba because of Quincy Jones. I met him in Switzerland in 2006 at the Montreux Jazz Festival and he is still my mentor to this day. Also, I wanted to discover something different in my life. I was at the point, in Cuba, where I felt very isolated from America for many years because of the political situation, and I wanted to experience something different. Go to a different country and learn from different cultures, something that was very difficult to do while in Cuba. I definitely wanted to do it, but meeting Quincy was a pivotal moment in my decision to leave. As a Cuban, I still don’t have the possibility to go back to my country and live there because I asked for political asylum, so that was a really big risk in my life and leaving my family behind was very difficult. 
 
How much of Cuban music is there in your music today?
Cuban music will always be a part of my life and music forever. I lived there for 23 years and I am still learning so much about Cuban music from what is happening now. It will always be there, it is difficult for me to tell a percentage, but what I can tell for sure is that my blood is full of Cuban music. I also have become a global citizen in many ways and music has become a very strong part of that. I have learned from many cultures from living in the United States and collaborating from artists around the world that have influenced music and my life. My goal is to unite us with my music and I feel that is why my music has become, in my opinion, global as well. I want to play music that speaks to everyone and the only way we can do that is if we are open to learn from other people.
 
Quincy Jones, who discovered you in Montreux, was the artist who helped you at the beginning of your career. What role does he play today in your life, in your music, in the production of your musical works?
Quincy has been the producer of all of my records. I just wrote a symphony piece with Quincy for the Szczecin Symphony Orchestra. I have been collaborating with him in so many ways. Just being able to be around him and learning from all of his experiences, not just about music, but his life has been a lifelong masterclass. He is very humble in so many ways and he is always giving. I admire that so much. Since the first moment he has allowed me to be my true self, defending my roots and being happy with what I create. That is why he is the best producer, he doesn’t force anything but he brings the best out of me. 
 
Would you introduce us briefly The Little Dream and your musicians?
The title comes from my fascination with the dream world, which is a beautiful manifestation of our reality. My greatest dream is one where all humans live happily and in peace. Children are the hope and answer to creating a world of love, peace, unity, and understanding. The two musicians that I am playing are Munir Hossn on bass and Daniel Rodriguez on percussion. Munir is a great musician, composer, arranger from Brazil, and we composed a lot of music together for The Little Dream. I have been playing with him for 5 years and he is one of the musicians I admire the most. Daniel is a percussionist from Cuba that I just started playing with. I feel so very happy to have him here playing with us. The title of my new album, The Little Dream, is my response to our current world climate.
 
 
Reservados todos los derechos – All rights reserved – 版權所有 – 版权所有;  An espresso with… Alfredo Rodríguez copyright Jazzespresso 2018.
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