"Vivencias en Clave Cubana" is the debut solo album of Cuban cuatro master Kiki Valera, a member of the Familia Valera Miranda, a century-old group and one of the most important purveyors of the Son Cubana. While completely dedicated to the performance of traditional Cuban music, Valera was exposed to Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery and Chick Corea through cassette tapes while in school and those jazz inspirations elevate the quality of his cuatro solos in subtle and beautiful ways. Joined here by childhood friend, reknowned Cuban vocalist Coco Freeman, Valera and his exciting ensemble pair 12 original songs with beautiful instrumental work in ways that will make you dance, laugh, and possibly shed a tear. Cuba's traditional music has a history of constant evolution from its very beginnings. With "Vivencias en Clave Cubana," Kiki Valera continues in that spirit.
Beyond Salsa Piano is a history and anthology of the role of the piano in the Cuban rhythm section – from its first appearance to the present. In a broader sense, it’s a study of the tumbao – the art of creating music from layers of repeating rhythmic and melodic phrases. Whether these syncopated figures are called tumbaos, guajeos, montunos, riffs or vamps, this Afro-Cuban concept lies at the heart of nearly every popular music genre from salsa to rock , funk, R&B, hiphop and jazz.

While presented as a set of method books, the series doubles as a history course and record collecting guide for listeners, dancers, and players of instruments other than the piano.

Perhaps the most important goal of the series is to provide a comprehensive understanding of how tumbaos are constructed, their central role in the texture of Latin music of all eras, and the endless possibilities they provide for creative composing and arranging.
Contact us to license Latin music for tv & film.

Live In Havana

Artist:   Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Style Released Album Tracks Charts
Latin Jazz 1989 6 0


© 2005 Pimienta Records Corp. All rights reserved.
Audio album download includes album tracks, liner notes and cover art.
All audio tracks in MP3-VBR format. About LPM album downloads.
# Name Play Time Info
01  Green Dolphin in the Street
Alternative text
12:53  the original Green Dolphin St. re-titled, Gonzalo was
 playing this the 1rst time Charlie Haden heard him
02  Nueva Cubana
Alternative text
10:48  title track for this group's recording debut with
 EGREM (Cuba's government label)
03  Concatenación Heroica
Alternative text
10:36  composed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of
 the fall of the fascist powers
04  Pluma
Alternative text
14:38  composed in 1985 at the famous "Ronnie Scott's"
 jazz club in London
05  Pisando el Césped
Alternative text
12:03  irreverent reflection of the Gonzalo's rebellious
 outlook during his younger years
06  Regreso Felíz
Alternative text
17:22  an obscure Gonzalo composition frequently
 compared to Weather Report
A cuban tour-de-force, the execution and complexity of Rubalcaba's arrangements are unparalleled in modern Latin jazz.

Extended piano solo by Gonzalo!

What happens when a group of visionary musicians get together for the live performance of something very sophisticated, lead by one of jazz's heaviest hitters? The answer, of course, is magic. Now, what happens if all those things are true, but it is simply before the musician's time? Uncontrolled magic. When rhythm section players like Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Felipe Cabrera, Roberto Vizcaíno, and Horacio "El Negro" Hernández take the stage, there is Cuban alchemy so strong that concepts like tumbao and clave become obsolete, irrelevant. The horn players, Lazaro Cruz and Rafael Carrasco, together form an amazing voice, and individually push the style to new levels. The complexity of Rubalcaba's arrangements are unparalleled in modern Latin jazz.

His soloing concepts are so visceral and unchecked that they are indigestible upon first listening. Though often times quite tuneful, 1989's Live in Havana bears all the markings of a "young lion's" project. The classic questions like "who is was this album made for, Gonzalo or the audience?" and "where's the mix of old and new?" are appropriate, and will leap to mind more than once. The overall effect is sort of like witnessing a young Bill Shakespeare get tipsy and let his hair down at a cocktail party. The project is inspirational, and has great merit, but will require a very special kind of listener to get frequent play.

Gonzalo's "Live In Havana" album credits

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Piano & Keyboards, Producer
Horacio "El Negro" Hernández Drums
Rafael Carrasco Flute, Sax (Tenor)
Lazaro Cruz Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Felipe Cabrera Bass (Electric), Bassoon
Roberto Vizcaíno Percussion
Jerry Belc Engineer, Mixing
Luis Tamargo Liner Notes
Bernd Deutscher Cover Design
Johannes Wohlleben Mastering
Gotz A. Worner Producer