It’s called Confluencias de pianos and since the promotional poster itself the diversity jumps out at first sight. When you read the names of the guests of the young pianist and composer Rodrigo Ameneiros at this presentation, you discover that, indeed, they are several pianists, each one brilliant in his own style and representing different generations, as if Rodrigo had set out to show that the piano of this island can be combined at all times, but especially in the present, and future.
From proven geniuses like Frank Fernández and José María Vitier, to young girls Adriana and Andrea López Gavilán, excellent elementary students at Manuel Saumell musical school in the capital, we find musicians like Manolito Simonet, Roberto Carcassés, Rolando Luna, Aldo López Gavilán, Tony Rodríguez, Alejandro Falcón, Ernesto Oliva, Andy García, and Brayan Álvarez.
The concert is part of the program of activities of the current edition of the Jazz Plaza Festival and by the way we spoke with its host.
How did the idea of organizing this concert come about?
"The original idea was thought by me together with Víctor Rodríguez, Vitico, who is a very important part of the Festival's Organizing Committee and, in addition, Director of the Popular Music Center and I’m very grateful that he trusted me for such a project. About a year and a half ago, one day we were talking and I told Vitico, where can I perform this year at the Jazz Plaza? And he said, well, we are doing tributes, dedicating concerts to certain things and we take videos of them and it remains as a product for future generations. And I replied: then what I want to do is pay homage to pianism. I am a pianist and composer and I’ve always felt the need to thank the legacy left to us by so many people who have dedicated their lives to composing, studying piano and doing new things that have remained in the history of Cuban music. I forwarded him the proposal and that began to gain strength in a way that I couldn’t even imagine. At first I didn’t even think of inviting the pianists and make it with two pianos, but the idea set in, invited to say yes, that they liked the idea and well, what’s already known is what is going to happen at the Covarrubias".
Will it be Recorded?
"This concert was already recorded last January because this was really for the previous Festival and we recorded it with some of the pianists who are going to be in this second edition and others who cannot be for various reasons, because it’s difficult for all these stars to coincide in the country, plus the situation of the Covid, so this time some are not there, but others joined who are just as great and for me it’s an honor and pride to have them. I always have to clarify that these people who are in the concert are not all pianists, far from it, that is, there are still a lot of spectacular pianists, composers in Cuba, whom I’m also honoring in this concert even though they are not on stage with me".
What did you take into account to select the guest pianists?
"The truth is, most of the guest pianists are people who, in one way or another, have greatly influenced my career, some as friends, as teachers and others as references that I’ve always followed and I think that somehow all the people who are at the concert have some kind of friendship relationship with me and towards everyone I feel, of course, huge respect. I think it was not a selection as such, but while pianists who wanted to do it were appearing, we did it. I would have liked to invite many more, because Cuban pianism is immense, but it had to be a concert format and we were already on the clock ".
Diversity is an evident characteristic in the selection, in terms of generations and also in terms of areas of music in which the guests perform. Why is that? Is that diversity trying to convey a message to us?
"Yes, it’s a very diverse concert and since its planning it was already intended to be. I’m a pianist in training who has tried, in these years of my career, to bring together what’s called concert music and also jazz and the popular genres, originals from Cuba, therefore I wanted to capture that also in the repertoire and the pianists, so you are going to listen to a jazz ballad, a chamber piece, a more contemporary jazz, a danzón, a Guantanamo nengón, there’s going to be everything. That’s one of the great challenges for me, but it’s something that I always wanted to try and defend the concept that music doesn’t have to raise barriers between styles, everything can contribute to the training of each pianist, knowing a bit of everything, entering the different genres".
I’ve seen in the promotion that "there will be many surprises". Is there any you care to anticipate?
"The surprises have to do, in part, with the repertoire, there are pieces that are known, that are going to be recognized, and it also has to do with the guests who come to play with the participating pianists, so José María Vitier is going to play with the musicians he usually plays with, Abel Acosta and Yaroldy Abreu, who are two excellent musicians. In the case of Rolando Luna he will play with Gastón Joya on bass and on drums with Oliver Valdés, who will also be with Tony Rodríguez, my guest group will also be there, that is, there will be a wide variety of music and musicians, trying to give their personal vision and adding a little color to a concert that will be full of that, a wide variety of colors, styles, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I hope to enjoy it.