Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Gonzalo Julio Gonzales Ponseca Rubalcaba ( born May 27, 1963 in Havana ) is a Cuban jazz pianist. In addition to Cuban - jazz-rock projects, he maintains the classic piano trio.


Rubalcaba comes from a musical family and is the son of pianist Guillermo Rubalcaba, and grandson of the composer Jacobao Gonzales Rubalcaba. He first began playing the drums and has already appeared on the age of five. Between 1971 and 1983 he underwent a classical music education. He studied percussion, piano and composition at the Conservatory and then at the Havana Institute of Fine Arts ( degree in composition in 1983 ).

In addition to the European concert music has influenced him the popular Cuban music, in which there were ways to improvise and thus to incorporate his own musical ideas. The first time went away Rubalcaba outside Cuba 1980 - 17 years old - to Panama and Colombia; then he toured in 1983 with the Salsa Orquesta Aragon chapel to Africa and Paris.

Dizzy Gillespie was the first North American musicians with whom he worked in Havana in 1985. His collaboration with the German music producer Götz Woerner led to the first international releases and tours in Europe. Gonzalo married in November 1986. He and his wife Mary moved in 1990 to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic ( since 1996, they live in Florida and now have three children).

In the U.S., it could occur in 1993 after the intercession of Wynton Marsalis and Dizzy Gillespie's widow for the first time.


Already during his studies he played with Frank Emilio, Chucho Valdés, Paquito D' Rivera and Arturo Sandoval. In 1985, he introduced his own Grupo Projecto to the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Berlin Jazz Festival, with whom he worked on a fusion of jazz rock, bop and the Cuban Son. He made his first recordings in Egrem Studios in Havana in early to mid -80s (including " Home Page " - a solo piano album and " Concierto Negro "). In early 1986, released three albums on Frankfurt label " Messidor " with his Cuban Quartet: "Mi Gran Pasion ", " Live in Havana", and " Giraldilla ". These shots show his temper, his virtuosity and that he was influenced at this time by the Jazz. The jazz elements were at that time, although part of his music, but he worked more with percussion, rhythm - elements of Afro-Cuban tradition.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba in 1986 convinced with his performance at the Havana Jazz Festival. He appeared in a trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian. 1989 brought him to the Charlie Haden Montreal Jazz Festival to play again in this trio. ( The recordings were made in 1997 under the title "The Montreal Tapes: Charlie Haden with Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Paul Motian " was published. ) A later recording of the trio from the 1990 Montreux Jazz Festival was released in 1991 as " Discovery ". The first published studio album " The Blessing " (with Haden and Jack DeJohnette ) already shows the jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

In 1992, he took his newly formed band Proyecto Latino his " Suite 4 Y 20 " on. Over the next few years, together with Felipe Cabrera and Julio Barreto followed always new records as a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie ( " Diz " ) or the mighty Latin Jazz Suite " Antiguo ", on which he the sum of its previous game and all its influences drew (2000 nominated for a Grammy ). Striking again and again his impressive, but as a matter of course while acting virtuosity. When listening closely, but fall also great peculiarities in the melody on a melody that jumps between styles back and forth - starting in the language of modern jazz, then transitions smoothly into classical or Cuban forms, as do the pianist no difference between them.

With "Inner Voyage" Gonzalo Rubalcaba made ​​a journey inward, conducted research on the nuances. In " Nocturne" - also a very intimate album, Charlie Haden and Rubalcaba took 2002 Cuban and Mexican boleros on - for Rubalcaba a kind of tribute to the older generation of Cuba.

In 2001 he toured with four different formations, among others in duet with Chick Corea, 2002, he explored the possibilities of the trio from the high-contrast "Supernova". The album " Paseo " is based again on his elektrischeren fusion excursions of " Antiguo " on - Latin fusion, improvised modern jazz, return to the Cuban roots.


Despite its wide range Gonzalo Rubalcaba true today clearly as a jazz pianist. Due to its Afro-Cuban background and his earlier percussion training the rhythm plays an important role in his game. He sees the piano well " as part of the percussion family ." Monstrous rhythmic, melodic and harmonic ingenuity he showed in "The Trio" with Brian Bromberg and Dennis Chambers by jazz standards disassembled, ' and assembles as a completely new very own pieces again.

Discography (selection)

  • Live in Havana ( 1987)
  • Mi Gran Pasion (1989 )
  • Giraldilla (1990 )
  • The Blessing (1991 )
  • Diz (1994 )
  • The Trio (1997)
  • Flying Colors (1998)
  • Antiguo (1998)
  • Inner Voyage ( 1999)
  • Supernova ( 2001)
  • Nocturne (2002)
  • Land Of The Sun (2004)
  • Paseo (2004)
  • Solo ( 2006)
  • Avatar (2008)
  • Fe (2010)


  • Martin Kunzler, Jazz Encyclopedia Vol 2 ISBN 3-499-16513-9
  • Jazz Pianist
  • Cuban composer
  • Cuban musicians
  • Person (Havana )
  • Cuban
  • Born in 1963
  • Man