Personnel: Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano, keyboards, percussion); Felipe Lamoglia (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Jose Armando Gola (bass instrument, bass guitar); Ignacio Berroa (drums).
One of the most visible figures on the Afro-Cuban jazz scene, Gonzalo Rubalcaba is anything but a straightforward revivalist. PASEO, the pianist's 2004 release, takes the listener on a journey ("paseo" translates as "journey" or "walk") that obliquely references Afro-Cuban forms through the filters of hard bop, fusion, and elements of modal and free jazz. There is a driving, fragmentary funk backdrop to much of PASEO, with electric bassist Jose Armando Gola and drummer Ignacio Berroa creating a fantastic, push-pull interplay that lends a pulsing, contemporary feel.
In Rubalcaba's compositions one can hear Cuban forms ("El Guerrillero" is rooted in the son) and nods to North American jazz (one recognizes the influence of Miles Davis's early electric period, especially when--as on "Paseo Con Fula"-- Rubalcaba plays the electric keyboards). Luis Felipe Lamoglia's saxophone work is mercurial, and perfectly integrated into the framework (on the atmospheric "Santo Canto" he seems to play only for tension and texture). The Latin elements are here in skeletal form, with such an array of complex textures and influences mixed in that the result is something entirely new. PASEO is testament to the fact that Rubalcaba is responsible for some of the best jazz of the early 2000s.
Down Beat (p.67) - 4 stars out of 5 - "The dizzying arrangements and subtle changes in mood suggest a rare mental telepathy..."
JazzTimes (pp.93-4) - "The caliber of musicianship is incredibly high - on everyone's part."
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