Alfredo Rodriguez trio, Cuba

ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ trio, Cuba
Alfredo Rodriguez – piano, lead vocal
Michael Olivera – drums
Yarel Hernandes – bass

Alfredo Rodriguez is one of the most exciting Cuban pianists of the new generation. His music reflects the talents of the legendary jazz pianists Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, and Art Tatum. Famous worldwide on the side of Richard Bona whom he toured with for 4 years), in 2023, he is scheduled to release his new project – produced (again) by Quincy Jones.

Alfredo Rodriguez studied classical music in Havana so his riveting artistry is informed as much by Bach and Stravinsky as it is by his Cuban roots. Discovered at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival by Quincy Jones, Rodríguez has distinguished himself as the definition of jazz and improvisation without boundaries. His mastery has earned him frequent appearances on prestigious stages around the world such as the Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, Jazz in Marciac, Umbria Jazz, and Jazz à Vienne. In 2015, Rodríguez got a nomination for a Grammy Awards in the category for Best Arrangement, Instrumental, or A Cappella for the track “Guantanamera,” from his 2014 release, The Invasion Parade. In this follow-up album to his debut on Mack Avenue Records, Sounds of Space, Rodríguez explores his memories of Cuba – the people and culture he left behind. Co-produced by Quincy Jones and featuring a superb ensemble – that includes bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding and percussionist/vocalist Pedrito Martínez – the record is comprised of nine tracks including originals by Rodríguez as well as evergreens such as “Guantanamera” and Maria Teresa Vera’s “Veinte Anos”. Rodríguez’s fourth studio album, The Little Dream (Mack Avenue Records), was recorded in just two days, with a majority of the songs being done in one take. Two musicians who joined Rodríguez and helped shape the album’s sound are Michael Olivera and Munir Hossn. Next, the fourth album is named Duologue, a collaboration with Pedrito Martinez.

During his first tour in China, Rodríguez was asked to work with the famous Chinese-Canadian composer Tan Dun(Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Marco Polo), Siedah Garrett, and Quincy Jones to compose the English version of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo theme song, becoming the first non-Chinese artist to be bestowed this honor. His ability to express himself culturally by “playing stories” on the keys places him in a unique position to connect with his listeners on a more personal level.

One of the most important musical collaborations for Alfredo Rodriguez is with Richard Bona. They first became aware of one another’s talent through their shared mentor, Quincy Jones. After years of friendship, the duo went into the studio to work together on Rodriguez’s album Tocororo, produced by Quincy Jones. As a duo, Rodriguez and Bona could be seen on the Grammy-winning Netflix documentary QUINCY.