Another great attraction in this edition is Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodríguez, who 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).
Alfredo Rodríguez Trio
Alfredo Rodríguez: piano
Munir Hossn: bass & guitar
Michael Olivera: drums