Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7:03 AM
Underneath the firepower in Rodriguez's enchanting "Fog" lies the work of a remarkable composer.
Related ArticlesAlfredo Rodriguez: 'Crossing The Border' To Meet A Legend
The Cuban jazz pianist was arrested and nearly deported entering the U.S. to work with Quincy Jones.
Like many musicians who've come through Cuba's music conservatory, 26-year-old pianist Alfredo Rodríguez displays ferocious virtuosity on his splendid debut, Sounds of Space. Underneath all the firepower, though, lies a remarkable composer who knows how to pull back from the razzle-dazzle and play a piece that's more memorable for its melody and arrangement than for his awe-inspiring technique.
His enchanting "Fog" practically qualifies as 21st-century chamber music. Rodríguez hammers out a dark, cyclical melody that's soon shadowed by the Santa Cecila Quartet's haunting woodwind and brass arrangement. Drummer Michael Olivera and bassist Gaston Joya provide subtly pliant momentum which helps the song retain its jazz aesthetic. Soon enough, Rodríguez's solo emerges then submerges itself within the evocative arrangement, affording the composition cinematic splendor worthy of his mentor, Quincy Jones, who produced Sounds of Space.
At just shy of five minutes, "Fog" never overstays its welcome; in fact, it sounds as if it's an excerpt from a grander composition. Which is appropriate, because the song itself provides a wondrous teaser for Rodríguez's rapidly developing compositional ingenuity. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]
This article is filed in: Music Reviews
In "Libby," Fuller takes a brooding, beautiful look into a world of obsession, betrayal and regret.
Lisa Marie Presley: Rock's Princess Finds Her Voice
Presley has weathered personal storms with grace. On her new album, she hints that she's just begun.
Kathleen Ferrier: A Voice Not Forgotten
A new 14-CD set marks the centenary of the great English singer's birth.
Louis Armstrong: With Love And Grace, A Final 'Hello'
In one of his final performances, Armstrong used "Hello Dolly" to convey the joy of being alive.
John Talabot: From Sleek Grooves, A Fluid Sound
The tempo of "Destiny" would fall perfectly in sync with the bolt strut of a high-paid runway model.
News updates from WGBH