Roberto Fonseca

Zamazu (Justin Time/Enja)

Although a member of Buena Vista Social Club (in 2001, at the tender age of 26, he replaced Rubén Gonzalez) right up until the group´s final recordings, Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca is not at all interested in having his music viewed as nostalgia. Though certainly respectful of the various traditions that served as influence to him, Fonseca is a forward-looking player. And a global one too. Although the Cuban flavors are omnipresent on his latest disc, Zamazu, there are also sonic spices emanating from Argentina, Brazil, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the far-out world of late ´60s jazz and funk. Fonseca handles them all deftly, with a percussive and fluid piano attack that occasionally verges into rock ´n´ roll territory but always remains both elegant and thick with emotional integrity. Quieter numbers like ¨Suspiro¨ and ¨Llego Cachaito¨ (featuring legendary Cuban bassist Orlando ¨Cachaito¨ López) show Fonseca´s soft, slightly melancholic side, but it´s on complex pieces like the atmospheric ¨Ishmael,¨ the brief, hard-driving ¨Asi Baila Mi Madre,¨ and the pan-ethnic arpeggios of ¨Congo Arabe¨ that the pianist shines most brightly. A remarkable and diverse album.

 
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