/  Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Pianist – The Jazzaar Festival Latin Band

The multi-Grammy© Winner, pianist, and composer Gonzalo Rubalcaba was already a young phenomenon with a budding career in his native Cuba when he was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie in 1985. Since, Piano & Keyboard Magazine selected him in 1999 as one of the great pianists of the 20th century, alongside figures such as Glenn Gould, Martha Argerich, and Bill Evans; won two Grammys and two Latin Grammys, and established himself as a creative force in the jazz world.

He was born on May 27, 1963, in a musical family in Havana. His father, pianist, composer, and bandleader Guillermo Rubalcaba, had also played in the orchestra of Enrique Jorrín, the creator of cha-cha-cha; his grandfather Jacobo Rubalcaba, was the composer of classic danzones, and his two brothers are also musicians. Gonzalo, a child prodigy who by the age of 6 was playing drums in his father’s orchestra, started his formal training two years later, with piano as his main instrument to, as he once recalled, “just to please my mother.” He graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts in Havana with a degree in composition and by his mid–teens he was working as both, a drummer and pianist, in the hotels, concert halls, and jazz clubs of Havana. Following graduation he stepped right into the life of the popular musician, touring Cuba, Europe, Africa, and Asia with the fabled Orquesta Aragón and also as a sideman in jazz groups and, beginning in 1984, leading his own Afro-Cuban jazz-rock fusion band, Grupo Proyecto.

The encounters with Gillespie and, in 1986, with Charlie Haden and then Blue Note Records president, Bruce Lundvall, set the stage to finally showcase Rubalcaba ́s talent before jazz audiences in the United States. These years are documented in a series of recordings in Havana and Frankfurt, Germany, including three superb recordings with his Cuban Quartet on the German label Messidor: Mi Gran Pasión (1987), Live in Havana (1989), and Giraldilla (1990). Rubalcaba moved to the Dominican Republic in 1991 and settled in Miami in 1996.

His international recording career, which includes titles such as Discovery – Live at Montreux, Images–Live at Mt. Fuji, The Blessing, Suite 4 y 20, Rapsodia, Diz, and Imagine – Gonzalo Rubalcaba in the USA, has garnered him 16 nominations including both Grammys and Latin Grammys. He won Grammys for Nocturne (2001) and Land of the Sun (2004), two collections of Latin ballads and boleros recorded with bassist Charlie Haden; and Latin Grammys for Solo(2006) and Supernova (2002).

In 2010, Rubalcaba and businessman Gary Galimidi, founded 5Passion Records and since, the label has not only released Rubalcaba’s latest recordings such as Fe (2011), XXI (2012), Volcan (2014), Live Faith (2015), the Latin Grammy-nominated Suite Caminos (2015) and Charlie (2016), but also an album by artists such as Will Vinson, Ignacio Berroa, Yosvany Terry and many more. In addition to 5Passion, Gonzalo joined the “Top Stop Music” record label family in 2020 to record/release the Grammy-nominated Viento y Tiempo live at Blue Note Tokyo with the great singer Aymée Nuviola. Reflecting his interest in music education, Rubalcaba joined the faculty of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in 2015. In 2020, he founded his own academy Rubalcademy, offering remote Masterclasses to musicians across the world.

This same year, his independent Record label 5Passion Records was restructured in partnership with the businessman Ariel López, and released the album SKYLINE, a reunion of old friends Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette. Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s most recent nomination with singer, pop, and soul music composer Jon Secada with the album “SOLOS” was for the 2021 Latin Grammys Awards, under the Oleta Music record label.

All Sessions By Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Concert: Cuban Spirit
21.04.2023 20:00
Kultur & Kongreshaus Aarau (Kuk)
Workshop - Cuban Music
18.04.2023 18:00 - 19:00
Aula, Alte Kantonsschule Aarau