Blessings! …We hope this message finds you in good health and that you are enjoying the summer months. We have not been in touch for too long now...but we have been working non-stop on an exciting variety of projects that we wish to bring you up to date on, s'il vous plaît...
My interactions with the wonderful students and staff at the University of Miami Frost School of Music continues to inspire me. We continue to expand my presence and opportunities to work with the tremendous young international talent resident at the Frost School of Music. I am especially excited about the upcoming concert with the Frost Concert Jazz Band in honor of Dizzy Gillespie (featuring many Dizzy Gillespie alumni) on January 26, 2017 at UM Gusman concert hall. Many thanks to Shelly Berg, John Daversa and the Frost School of Music team.
Meanwhile, I continue to study music and the piano. There is so much more to learn.
I continue to work on a trilogy of musical pieces entitled "Pasos". The first movement of the eventual trilogy was completed late 2013 and performed at Carnegie Hall. The 8-part manuscript of this installment is available for free download here. I have finally completed part 2. I have started part 3 and hope that we can eventually perform this music with students of the Frost School of Music . We will keep you posted.
For the last 26 to 31 months I have been "recomposing" an orchestral piece I wrote back in 1987 as my thesis in connection with my licensure in composition entitled "Embele Iruke" and I am extremely excited about the prospects of recording and performing this work in the near future. This piece could be considered a classical work, but will include elements of many movements, Cuban Folkloric music and rhythms combined with European Classical and Jazz sensibilities.
I continue to compose other music, some destined for the next "Volcan" album and some for my next solo album project.
"Suite Caminos" was finally released some months back on CD. I am humbled to report that "Suite Caminos" was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of "Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year". I am very thankful for the the presence of many superb talents on this recording including Ernesto Simpson, Matt Brewer, Seamus Blake, Alex Sipiagin, Pedrito Martinez , Adam Rogers, Will Vinson and as a very special guest on one selection….none other than Mr. John McLaughlin. There is no doubt their efforts were well recognized by the academy. My congratulations to all of you who continue to produce record music, whether nominated or not.
We also released Seamus Blake's "Superconductor" on CD. Check out the wonderful video of a tune entitled "Sofa Song" (link below) and more information can be found here. Also released on CD these past few months was Will Vinson's "Perfectly Out of Place". Both these albums are wonderful and I'm proud of everyones effort on these releases.
"Charlie", my tribute to my great friend in life Charlie Haden, is at the iTunes store and will be released on CD in just a few weeks. I am happy to include a link to a selection entitled "Transparance" for your enjoyment.
Meanwhile, Volcan is planning to record "Volcan II" in early 2017. Our new studio will be completed and we will celebrate it's opening with this first recording. We will be inviting several very special surprise guests to this recording. Stay tuned!
In December of 2012, Matt Brewer, Marcus Gilmore and I came together at the 5Passion studio for rehearsals. These rehearsals were recorded and upon later listenings we decided that the music was too good to keep locked away. We originally intend to release this music on CD. However, we have decided to publish this music in video form only. When it's ready we will post it on the 5Passion YouTube channel for free consumption. The tentative title is "Dress Rehearsal". Visit the 5Passion YouTube channel here.
I recently participated in a 3-Piano concert with Chucho Valdez and Michel Camilo in San Francisco celebrating the music of Ernesto Lecuona. In May of 2017, we will reprise these performances for four nights in the very same dynamic city. I thank these gentlemen for their artistry and for inviting me to partake in the festivities; special thanks to San Francisco, a truly cosmopolitan town.
"Volcan" just completed a challenging Summer Tour as a Trio. Although we were missing a vital ingredient, the crowds welcomed our efforts with great warmth and enthusiasm. You can watch several videos of the performances here. We are grateful to you all... Gracias!
I will be performing Bela Bartok's "Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra" in Japan with Makoto Ozone and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra September 26-29, followed by several solo piano concerts in Japan.
Oh Vida! featuring Esperanza Fernandez and a host of gifted musicians and flamenco dancers will play on in Bogota on September 10 and on September 16th in Sevilla.
I will have the great honor of celebrating Chick Corea's 75th Birthday with Chick in a duo piano concert at the Blue Note in November ; we will meet again in Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center Knight Concert Hall on 24 February of 2017. Gracias Armando y Feliz Compleaños!
In November we return to Europe to celebrate "Charlie" with our Quartet featuring Will Vinson, Matt Brewer and Jeff Ballard. Thank you Charlie Haden.
In late March I will be on tour with the phenomenal artist Anna Maria Jopek, along with my mates Jose Armando Gola and Ernesto Simpson. Tak Anna Maria!
"For more information check out my blog at
5passion.com or email me directly at
Lot’s of other great things continue to percolate, all for which I’m humbled and thankful. As always, thank you for your support.
Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Gary Galimidi and the 5Passion family!
Sadly, every time we issue a newsletter we are reminded that we continue to suffer the loss of many dear friends and loved ones, sometimes entire towns and villages disappear ... and we are reminded that we must carry on in their memory...