Friday, June 15, 2018
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Trance, the two-piano project featuring Chucho Valdés and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. The pairing of Cuban piano maestros promises an electric night of vibrant virtuoso performance from two generations of great Afro-Cuban tradition. Both hail originally from Havana, from musical families. Valdés with six Grammy Awards in his career, while Rubalcaba has two Grammy Awards and two Latin Grammys.
Perhaps best known as the founder, leader and main composer and arranger of the ground-breaking Afro-Cuban jazz rock band Irakere, Chucho Valdés has, since 2005, turned his attention to his personal career, showcasing his talents as a pianist and leader of small ensembles. Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who grew up listening to Valdés, burst on the world jazz scene in the 1980s with Grupo Proyecto, his explosive Afro-Cuban jazz fusion ensemble. By the early ’90s, Rubalcaba’s dazzling performances leading a trio featuring Charlie Haden and Paul Motian had established him as one of the premier pianists in jazz. “I know Gonzalo’s father and I know Gonzalo since he was a child,” noted Chucho. “This is a duo comprised of two pianists who have a historic relationship within the Cuban piano tradition. That has made this project something very special. It emerged very naturally, organically. The two pianos already sound like one.” Meanwhile, Gonzalo adds that “It would have been easy to pick some standards and just go out and play, but we wanted to do something special. We’re both writing music for two pianos and re imagining music ranging from the popular and classical Cuban repertoire to Monk.”