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Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio - Afro-Cuban Jazz
- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

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Featuring David Sanchez

At Iridium Jazz Club

1650 Broadway, Corner of 51st St, NYC

Media Contact: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

Two reviews

Featured Musicians: Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Piano, David Sanchez, Tenor Saxophone, Ignacio Berroa, Percussion, Armando Gola, Bass.

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 11, 2003
Originally Published on

Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie and performs in the Cuban tradition, with soulful and danceable rhythms. Rubalcaba leads his Trio with a beating foot against the floor, always in focus, and should be proud of the well-rehearsed performance that I thoroughly enjoyed on Saturday night. Traditionally, the later Jazz sets, such as this was, are relaxed and improvisational, and I was not disappointed. The pieces with Sanchez' wild saxophone were mostly progressive Jazz, while the pieces that focused on Rubalcaba's piano lead were performed in Latin Clave beat, or danceable Rhumbas, Cha-Cha's, Merengues, and Salsas. In the introductory piece, the saxophone was perfectly balanced. One of the featured characteristics of this group was the use of clean pauses, with the Quartet pausing at once, and picking up the beat and theme in perfect timing and harmony.

There were flash changes in tempo and lead, with the piano lead becoming the sax lead, becoming a bass lead, etc. Rubalcaba can crazily crash his keys, with perfect tempos proceeding to wild crescendos. At times, Rubalcaba reminded me of Brubeck, and at other times of Cucho Valdes. The second piece entertained with initial smooth sounds, almost a foxtrot, accompanied by brushed drums and soft bass, which were then followed by an upbeat Jazz mood, with the slight silences of the characteristic pauses. The third piece exemplified great fluidity of sound and showcased a cohesive and collaborative group, which soon went wild. With lightning staccatos and vibrancy, Berroa assisted with beats against the steel sections of his drums. The sharpness of sound was exciting.

The fourth piece, a Rhumba turned Cha-Cha, minus the saxophone, was very danceable (I prayed for a dance floor), and Berroa even blew a whistle. Rubalcaba kept switching themes and rhythms in a most vibrant and wonderful way. The next piece, also minus the saxophone, was jazzier and bluesier, mellow and warm.

When Sanchez returned for the next piece, the tone became progressive and electric. David Sanchez gave us exquisitely smooth and passionate tones on his saxophone. He threw abandon to the wind and played his heart out. But, Berroa assisted the clave feeling with his signature beating on the metal spokes of the drums. Thus, we had a combo, Latin and Progressive Jazz, all at once. This fusion of Jazz and Latin rhythms reminded me of Pablo Ziegler's recent performance at the Jazz Standard which exemplified the fusion of Jazz and Argentine Tango and of the recent review of the Django Reinhardt Festival that spoke of the fusion of Jazz and Gypsy Guitar.

My vision was a giant MTV-type video of great Salsa dancers in the background, while Rubalcaba's group performed. Perhaps another time.

For schedules and reservations at Iridium Jazz Club, call 212.582.2121.

Kathleen Banovich
January 11, 2003

Featured Musicians: Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Piano, David Sanchez, Tenor Saxophone, Ignacio Berroa, Percussion, Armando Gola, Bass. Last night I had the pleasure of listening to the masterful sounds of the Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio, featuring David Sanchez. The dynamics of the program were well balanced, and the talent of the four artists truly complimented each other harmoniously, for a perfect fit. The top of the set began with a powerful jam, with all musicians at full throttle. The skills of the sax shone clearly with intensity and soul. Rubalcaba played with dynamic dexterity, his fingers dancing across the keyboard, commanding the piano to come alive with the sounds of the heart and soul of jazz. The dynamics changed to the Latin rhythms of Rhumba and Cha Cha, with the percussionists' skillful use of the clave rhythm here.

The musicians brought it home, closing the set, rendering the mellow, smooth synergy of sounds of the bass, piano, and percussion that are distinctive, cool, nightclub style Jazz. This was the best of NYC Jazz!

Kathleen Banovich, NYC,, has competed in, taught, judged, and performed Ballroom and Latin Dance for over 25 yrs. Kathleen was Owner/Director of Shall We Dance Studio in North Carolina for 5 years, before returning to NYC. She has performed, choreographed, and judged for NC/NY Regional Theater and Pageants. She has also appeared in film and has worked as a model.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Piano) Trio and David Sanchez

Ignacio Berroa, Percussion

David Sanchez, Tenor Sax and Armando Gola, Bass

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at