- The concert will be held this Saturday 8 July (21.00 hours)
- Entrance tickets are on sale on the venue’s web site
This Saturday 8 July, the 26th edition of the Festival Canarias Jazz & Más Heineken presents performances by Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodríguez leading his trio and Portuguese vocalist Maria Joao with her band, in a double concert at the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium (Jerónimo Saavedra Hall – Rincón del Jazz/Jazz Corner), starting at 21.00 hours. This will be yet one more of the 46 concerts featuring 26 musical ensembles distributed on six islands, with a first-time experience for La Graciosa; figures that summarise the activity which will fill theatres, auditoriums, and public parks & squares with musical entertainment from 7 to 23 July.
Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodríguez is one of the great attractions of this edition, and will present at his concerts in the Canaries his latest work, titled Tocororo. After studying classical piano at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory, he went on to widen his knowledge at the Amadeo Roldán Music Conservatory as well as the ‘Instituto Superior de Arte’, all in Havana. His interest in jazz was stimulated by the annual “JoJazz” competition for young musicians, where he won an honourable mention in the year 2003. From then on, his evolution was progressive and in 2006, he was selected as one of the twelve pianists from around the world to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It was there he had the good fortune to be noticed by the well-known music producer Quincy Jones, who offered to work with him.
In 2007, he formed the first Alfredo Rodríguez Trio, with Gastón Joya (double bass) and Michael Olivera (drums) and in 2009, Rodríguez accompanied his father as a band member on a concert trip to Mexico, when he decided not to return to Cuba but to leave his country and family and request political asylum at the US border crossing of Nuevo Laredo. With the support of Jones he began his pursuit of a career in music in the United States.
Rodríguez has performed at some of the most important jazz festivals in the world – Detroit, Monterey, Newport, San Francisco, Umbría, Montreux, Mawâzine, Mundo Latino, Shangai…, and has shared the stage with artists such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin, James Ingram, McCoy Tyner, Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona & Lionel Loukeke.
One of Rodríguez’s most well-known compositions was accomplished through collaboration with Quincy Jones, Tan Dun and Siedah Garrett; the anthem Better City, Better Life was selected as the official theme song of the Shanghai World Expo 2010.
Tocororo, his new album (Mack Avenue Records), is also a means of telling his own story. The Tocororo is a bird – a national symbol of Cuba – and is a bird that dies of sadness if caged. With this metaphor, Rodríguez reflects not only the desire for liberty but the need to be free. “It’s the story of all that the bird represents: freedom, travel and the fusion of cultures” Cuban with all the others he has experienced throughout his musical journey. “What I wanted to do in this recording was to open myself up to the world, while honouring my roots at the same time”, he says.
Rodríguez expresses in his music a kind of “melding” of Bill Evans, Kenny Werner, Fred Hersch, and touches of Thelonious Monk, with the unmistakeable presence of his Cuban heritage. Here, in the Canaries he will perform with Munir Hossn (bass & guitar) and Michel Olivera (drums).
Maria João Monteiro Grancha was born in Lisbon (Portugal) on 27 June 1956. Her mother was from Mozambique and she inherited her rebellious spirit and restlessness from an early age. She learnt to sing listening to the great jazz divas, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday & Elis Regina, and she loved the music of Betty Carter, Al Jarreau and other great vocalists of the genre.
Her first group was “Maria João & Friends”, but her debut disc wasn’t released till the year 1983, titled Maria João Quinteto. A lot of standard American jazz numbers feature in her repertoire, including the famous Blue Moon, made popular by Billie Holiday.
Working together with Japanese pianist Aki Takase, she managed to change many concepts in the field of free-jazz, and it marked a turning point in her style and repertoire. Her collaboration with renowned Portuguese musicians like José Peixoto, Carlos Bica, José Salgueiro & Mário Laginha led to the release of her disc titled SOL (1991), in which traditional Portuguese music is mixed with jazz, producing an original sound with an excellent end result.
The album Danzas, released in 1994 on the prestigious “Verve” label, marked the beginning of a new stage forming a new duet, which lasts to the current moment, with Mário Laginha.
Maria João has collaborated and toured with a number of artists of world renown, such as Gilberto Gil, Christofer Lauer, Bob Stenso and of course, Mário Laginha. In the year 2001 she began working with a group led by Joe Zawinul, ex-keyboard player of the mythical Weather Report, with whom she performed live for over a year, at various European jazz festivals; also participating in projects with Susana Bacca & Paulo Flores.
In 2009, Maria João started a new band, Ogre, with young musicians João Farinha (piano & keyboard), Júlio Resende (piano), Joel Silva (drums) & André Nascimento (electronics). Once more, the singer goes to a new place, exploring musical territories totally unchartered for her; and she continues going on tour with this group, changing its formation as and when required.
The Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz&Más Heineken will cover the islands of La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and for the first time La Graciosa, where it will plant its seed. An event made possible due to the collaboration by the municipalities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Adeje, Puerto de la Cruz, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Santa Lucía de Tirajana, Santa Brígida, Puerto del Rosario, Arrecife Teguise & Los Llanos de Aridane; and the sponsorship by the Canarian Government, the Cabildos (Island Councils) of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote & Fuerteventura, the Town Halls of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Arrecife, Puerto del Rosario, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Adeje, Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Lucia de Tirajana, Santa Brigida & Los Llanos de Aridane, Casa África, the Adán Martín Auditorium in Tenerife, the Auditorium & Theatre Foundation of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the Leal, Guimerá & Guiniguada Theatres. Organised by Colorado Producciones, yet another edition is sponsored by the company Heineken.