When Roberto Fonseca plays, the music seeps from every pore in his body. At times on stage, the fabulously gifted pianist, composer and bandleader grabs a drum and transforms his group into a comparsa.
One of the most exciting Cuban pianists in generations, Fonseca has a sound that is at the fertile crossroads of jazz, traditional music, and soul steeped in a spirituality faithful to his Afro-Cuban roots. He has performed alongside greats such as Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez, Omara Portuondo, and Herbie Hancock, all of whom have influenced his music and ever-evolving career.
With his latest release, YO, Fonseca steps between electro, analogue and African, Hammond organs, n’goni, congas, kora and the talking drum, creating a synthesis of Afro Cuoan groove and Griot tradition. As Jazzwise explains, “Where some bandleaders will switch key or rhythm mid-track, Fonseca switches continents. Fonseca’s genius lies in his ability to choose and blend an unusually wide range of sounds in a way that are enticing without ever compromising his core musical values.
“To bring together the sounds of his heritage, Fonseca workd with African musicians Faudel, Assane Mboup, Baba Sissoko, Etienne M’Bappe, Sekou Kouyate, and Fatoumata Diawara, as well as Cuban artists Ramses Rodriguez and Joel Hierrezuelo. This album proves that Fonseca’s horizons are not limited by the subtleties of jazz, nor inextricably tied to the Caribbean. “Yo lunges in fantastic and unexpected directions while remaining rooted m Afro-Cuban musical traditions (The Washington Post).”
If proof were needed that music is a language of its own, here it is.
*The Miami Nice Jazz Festival and Olympia Theater present Roberto Fonseca and his trio in concert for the opening of 2014 Miami Nice Jazz Festival. Doors open at 7am (120 NE 1st St).
(From the: Olympia Theater)