Alfredo Rodriguez Trio

@ Subrosa – Shows @ 8PM & 10PM (Doors @ 7PM & 9:30PM)

“One of the most prolific and gifted jazz pianists of the 21st century” – Quincy Jones

For those who know how to listen, time and distance offer a wealth of perspective.

“When you live in your own country, you are immersed in that reality and you’re not necessarily conscious of all the different elements that make it what it is,” says Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodríguez, who moved to the United States in January 2009. “I breathed Cuban music. Being outside that reality gives me a different perspective. Creating and playing this music has been like finding out who I am, all over again.”

On The Invasion Parade, the follow-up to his stunning debut on Mack Avenue, Sounds of Space, Rodríguez explores his memories of Cuba, the people and the culture he left behind-and finds his new place.

Co-produced by Quincy Jones, Rodríguez’ champion and mentor, and featuring a superb ensemble that includes bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, percussionist/vocalist Pedrito Martínez, and drummer/percussionist Henry Cole, The Invasion Parade comprises nine tracks including originals by Rodríguez as well as evergreens such as “Guantanamera,” Maria Teresa Vera’s “Veinte Años,” and “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás.”

“I searched different styles, different rhythms of Cuban music,” explains Rodríguez. “I explored Conga Santiaguera [a rhythm from Santiago, in Eastern Cuba], Afro-Cuban music and also música guajira [country music]. I’m exploring the roots and searching for my own contribution to Cuban music.”

Born in Havana, Cuba as the son of a popular singer, television presenter and entertainer of the same name, Rodríguez began his formal music education at seven. Percussion, not piano, was his first choice. “But to choose what I wanted I had to wait until I was 10,” he explains. “So I picked piano. By the time I could actually switch to percussion, I knew the piano was my path.”

He graduated to the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán, and then to the Instituto Superior de Arte. He had a strictly formal classical musical education, and learned popular styles on stage playing in his father’s orchestra from the age of 14. “I had a chance to perform every day, and write arrangements for all kinds of music: boleros, rock ‘n’ roll, dance music, you name it. That is where I learned the discipline of being a professional musician.”

He entered the world of jazz and improvisation at 15, when an uncle gave him Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert. “Until then it had been all Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. I didn’t know anything about improvisation. The Köln Concert changed my life.”

In 2006, Rodríguez was chosen to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival. While there, he was invited to a gathering at the house of the festival’s founder and director, Claude Nobs, who asked him if he would play for Quincy Jones.

“When I finished, Quincy said he liked it a lot and that he wanted to work with me. That someone I admire so much would be interested in doing something with me was incredible. But I’m a realist, and while it was a nice idea I thought it would be difficult. And it was.”

It took him three years. Finally in 2009, while in Mexico after playing some engagements with his father who lived there at the time, Rodríguez made his move with “nothing: a suitcase with a sweater, a pair of jeans and my music.”

Sounds of Space, his first album on Mack Avenue, was released in 2011.

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June 28, 2015