An espresso with…
Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Image Credits: Gonzalo Rubalcaba © Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

November 27, 2018

Skyline

The new album will be soon released by the Cuban pianist, percussionist and author Gonzalo Rubalcaba, in trio with Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette.

> Ivano Rossato

 

Can you tell us some previews of the album you recently recorded with Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette and that will be released in 2019?
The album will be called Skyline, we recorded it in October at New York’s Power Station in a two-day session. The studios were once called Avatar and we all have a lot of memories about them. So many memories in common are enclosed in that place! I’ll never forget what artists such as Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette have done for me, among others, when I arrived in the United States and I was younger than 30. Besides Ron and Jack, many others come to my mind, as Joe Lovano, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Paul Motian… all these persons took care of me and accepted me in the musical community. And I tried to learn from them as much as I could. Since then, it was as if I tried to pay them a tribute by inviting them to play with me 20 or 30 years later. The album will feature 6 original tracks, two signed by each one of us. Then, I wanted to add two piano solo tracks, the first written by José Antonio Méndez, while the second is a cover of “Lágrimas Negras”, which was made famous all over the world by the Buena Vista Social Club. To close the album, we decided to include a track which was born spontaneously, almost a blues, which winded up being really great!
 
Which is the common denominator held by the great musicians you have worked with?
There are many qualities they hold in common. For sure, one of them is the sincerity in the way they approach music. Those artists make music because they think it can change the world and help people to find a higher level of existence and thought. I could clearly feel in each one of them the unconditional love for becoming a stimulation, especially for youngsters, in looking for beauty and deepness in existence. Charlie (Haden), for instance, continuously talked about this. Another attribute in common is that they want to push themselves “beyond” and take risks, that is the only way to prove something, to find themselves. I always rather say “I was wrong” than “I didn’t do it, so I don’t know if I was right or wrong”.
 
What repertoire will you choose for your next piano solo concerts?
I don’t want to look like I’m bizarre, but I truly don’t know! The reason is very simple. What inspires me to vary the repertoire from one venue to another is the venue itself. It depends on the fact that I know the place, that I’m there, and that I listen to myself in that venue. 90% of venues communicate a specific mood that makes me play a different music. It’s something that also depends on the instrument I will play. Each piano, at any level, is different from another and adapts to the technical level required for the different compositions.
 
Gonzalo Rubalcaba Jazzespresso jazz magazine Ivano Rossato interview
 
In your opinion, what is the most important lesson to be successful?
Of course, we all need talent. A word which is interpreted with so many synonyms… Somebody calls it talent, others a blessing, some others a gift… Truth is that if you are born with the capability of doing something, you must be able to develop it, to educate it, to train it. You must be able to transform this gift in a tool to fulfil something wonderful, important. Something having a real aim. The key is daily work, without indulging of the fact of having a natural talent.
 
What is your dream, so far?
It could seem ordinary and strange, but my wish is simply to have enough time to see the realization of all I wish to do in my life. I would like to have the possibility of avoiding any “incident” at any level, which could possibly stop me from exploring, creating and cooperating. I still have so many stories I would like to create through my music! To do that, you need time, as well as quality of life, discipline and physical, mental and spiritual health.
 

 

 
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