Jun 17, 2013
For decades, the United States and Cuba have shared a complex relationship. While there have been many business, travel and diplomatic restrictions between the two countries, U.S. citizens have gravitated to Cuba's tropical culture - taking in the country's sights, sounds and cuisines.
From a musical standpoint, in addition to the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon and the enduring legacy of Los Van Van, there is a strong relationship between Afro-Cuban music and American jazz. Over the years, many of the world's finest jazz artists have hailed from Cuba - virtuosos such as Bebo & Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Israel López and Machito as well as the latest wave of great piano players, including Roberto Fonseca, Alfredo Rodriguez, and David Virelles.
Making his US debut this month is another player destined to join these great performers, Harold López-Nussa. López-Nussa has been in the spotlight since he guest starred on the Stefon Harris, David Sánchez and Christian Scott project Ninety Miles, which was recorded in Cuba. His US debut album, El País de las Maravillas was a quartet recording that featured Sánchez, López-Nussa’s young brother, drum prodigy Ruy Adrian López-Nussa, and bassist Felipe Cabrera
The brothers López-Nussa will be making their long-delayed US Debut for the rest of this month (June 18 / Jazz Standard / New York, NY; June 19 / An die Musik / Baltimore, MD; and June 21 / Regattabar / Cambridge, MA) and then will be an attraction at the Montreal Jazz Festival on July 1. Harold’s next CD, New Day, will be released in the fall.
I spoke with Harold López-Nussa as he headed to New York to play in Manhattan for the first time. We talked about his musical education, and hoped for greater cooperation between Cuba and the US. The Podcast may be downloaded here, and features musical selections including:
Harold López-Nussa Trio with David Sánchez “Caminos” and “Perla Marina” from El País de las Maravillas .
Stefon Harris, David Sánchez and Christian Scott – “And This Too Shall Pass“ from Ninety Miles.
Harold López-Nussa Trio with David Sánchez - “Volver” from El País de las Maravillas .