La espontaneidad de un virtuoso del teclado … Article from: Américas (Spanish Edition) July 1, 1996, Holston, Mark

Article from: Américas (Spanish Edition) July 1, 1996 Holston, Mark

La espontaneidad de un virtuoso del teclado. (pianista cubano Gonzalo Rubalcaba)(TT: the spontaneity of a keyboard virtuoso) (TA: Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba)

La vida en el mundo del jazz puede llevarlo a uno a una nominación para un premio Grammy o a un prestigioso debut en el Lincoln Center. En el camino, si el viajero es un pianista cubano que se llama Gonzalo Rubalcaba, también puede significar un programa cada vez más recargado de presentaciones y apresurados viajes al aeropuerto más cercano para alcanzar vuelos a Tokio, Sáo Paulo, Toronto y otros numerosos destinos cosmopolitas.

Y también una visita al taller de reparación de carrocerías. El hecho de que este virtuoso de treinta y tres años resida en Santo Domingo, la bulliciosa capital de la República Dominicana, le ha significado un tipo de problemas que es improbable que hubiera tenido que enfrentar en La Habana.

“Lo siento, Gonzalo no podrá asistir a la entrevista”, me informó por teléfono José Forteza, el agente del pianista. “Surgió un viaje. Nos vamos al Japón, y camino al consulado tuvo un accidente”.

La cita se cumplió un año después, cuando Rubalcaba, después de tentar la suerte sorteando las caóticas callejuelas de Santo Domingo, llega a la puerta de mi hotel en su nuevo Honda Prelude blanco. Pronto salimos para el barrio colonial pleno de historia para una charla en uno de los cafés al aire libre. Ya sea que ha mejorado sustancialmente su habilidad como conductor o que el tránsito es menos difícil en esta ventosa tarde de junio, Rubalcaba se siente cómodo y en control, al tiempo que relata su vida en esta colorida metrópolis y habla sobre su carrera cada vez más exigente.

Su habilidad en el volante me recuerda las cualidades de su interpretación: súbitos impulsos de energía mientras esquiva a toda velocidad un camión cargado de maderas, pausados interludios mientras atravesamos un campus universitario lleno de impetuosos peatones, una intensa concentración mientras atravesamos las impredecibles vueltas del laberinto de estrechas callejuelas adoquinadas.

Santo Domingo es en la actualidad el hogar del pianista, su esposa María, sus hijos Joao y Joan, de su agente Forteza y de su hermano Luis y sus respectivas familias. La cultura española y africana del país proporciona a los cubanos un entorno atractivo y les facilita las comunicaciones y el transporte que se han convertido en aspectos críticos para satisfacer las exigencias cada vez mayores de su carrera internacional.

El pianista, nacido en La Habana en 1963, es hijo de Guillermo Rubalcaba, conocido pianista cubano que tocaba en la famosa orquesta de Enrique Jorrin. Su abuelo, Jacobo González Rubalcaba, era un destacado compositor de danzones. Con semejante ambiente musical en su hogar, no es de extrañar que el joven Rubalcaba comenzara a estudiar el piano a los nueve años y obtuviera un título en composición musical en el Instituto de Bellas Artes de La Habana. Cuando aún era adolescente inició su carrera grabando y tocando, entre otros, con el trompetista y compositor de bebop Dizzy Gillespie, que se convertiría en uno de los grandes admiradores del pianista cubano.

Sentados en la majestuosa plaza España de Santo Domingo, frente a la ornamentada fachada del palacio de Diego Colón, analizamos su vida en la República Dominicana, sus opiniones acerca del inusitado interés actual en el jazz latino y sus planes para el futuro.

“El barrio colonial de Santo Domingo es el más dinámico, espiritual y arquitectónicamente importante de la ciudad”, comenta mientras observa un panorama que ha cambiado poco desde 1498, cuando Bartolomé Colón, el hermano del descubridor, fundó la que habría de ser la primera ciudad europea del hemisferio occidental y el centro de la cultura española en el Nuevo Mundo. “En la ciudad colonial verdaderamente “se respira esa época”, agrega.

“También me gusta La Romana, porque allí todo fue construido alrededor de las atracciones naturales”, dice, pero a su vez reconoce que sus crecientes obligaciones le han permitido disfrutar muy poco su nueva residencia.

Pero otro lugar de la República Dominicana, poco visitado por los turistas, realmente despierta su admiración. “Santiago de los Caballeros (la segunda ciudad de la república, situada a una hora de Puerto Plata en la región septentrional del país) me llamó la atención porque me recuerda a la ciudad de Santiago en Cuba, sólo que es más pequeña”, dice Rubalcaba. “Los santiagueros son muy hospitalarios. Se preocupan por sus vecinos y la gente que los rodea, algo que en esta época muchas veces falta en las grandes ciudades. Son una gente feliz. Al igual que en Santiago de Cuba, siempre están dispuestos a organizar una fiesta, cualquier día de la semana, ya sea de día o de noche”.

Con sus antecedentes de jazz, música clásica y estilos cubanos, Rubalcaba es una especie de anomalía en la República Dominicana, dominada por el merengue. “Todavía no he grabado merengue porque no me han invitado a hacerlo”, dice con una sonrisa. En realidad, fue invitado a realizar una grabación con Juan Luis Guerra, la más famosa estrella pop del país, y participó en el álbum Bachata Rosa, que ganó un Grammy en 1990.

El hecho de que en 1995 lo alcanzara la fama de una nominación para un Grammy es otra indicación del interés que ha despertado este fascinante maestro cubano. “Definitivamente fue una gran cosa desde el punto de vista promocional”, admite pragmáticamente acerca de su exposición a la fama del Grammy. “Uno es visto por un número inimaginable de personas de todo el mundo. Nunca pensé en la nominación, sino en la interpretación y en la oportunidad de promover mi obra y mi imagen”.

Siempre cuidadoso acerca de la forma en que invierte su tiempo y su energía artística, Rubalcaba se esfuerza por no ser calificado como artista de jazz latino. En efecto, su último álbum exhibe las distintas facetas de su personalidad artística a través de solos, interpretaciones con su cuarteto cubano y con sus frecuentes colaboradores norteamericanos de jazz, el bajista Charlie Haden y el baterista Jack DeJohnette. Imagine: Gonzalo Rubalcaba in the USA, su séptimo álbum para la legendaria marca Blue Note, incluye originales interpretaciones de un ecléctico programa que va desde “Imagine” de John Lennon, a “Woody’n You” de Dizzie Gillespie, el bolero “Perfidia” de Alberto Domínguez y obras originales grabadas en vivo durante una reciente gira por los Estados Unidos.

“No creo que sea prudente clasificar mi carrera sólo como intérprete del jazz latino”, señala diplomáticamente. “En la actualidad, en el movimiento parecen estar surgiendo nuevos talentos que están renovando el lenguaje original del estilo. En realidad, deberíamos pensar en darle un nuevo nombre”. Un poco alienado por lo que percibe como una tendencia a comercializar el estilo, Rubalcaba esboza algunos consejos para quienes pretenden izar el estandarte del jazz latino. “Estamos trabajando con una cultura seria y profunda”, señala. “Todavía hay estilos vírgenes que deben ser tratados como tales y no a través de un enfoque puramente comercial. No me gusta la idea de que todos se metan en el jazz latino, en interpretar la música folclórica al estilo del jazz. Hay que hacerlo de una manera seria”.

Entonces, en la misma forma en que su música puede cambiar dramática y espontáneamente de rumbo, se torna filosófico, subrayando su profunda pasión por la música a la que ha dedicado su vida. “La nueva generación debería pensar más acerca del valor de la música, debería poner la música primero y pensar menos en sí misma”, sostiene. “No quiero que nuestra música sea una cuestión de moda. Aún cuando ello requiera un lento proceso, el producto final debe ser algo permanente, parte de la historia. Para mí, lo importante es avanzar en esa dirección”.

Por el momento, le interesa la idea de producir un álbum clásico. El proyecto puede involucrar dos pianos y una orquesta e incluir algunas composiciones originales que ha preparado. “No es algo nuevo para mí”, dice, reflexionando sobre sus primeros tiempos en el Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán de La Habana. “Así me eduqué. Por diferentes razones, no seguí y practiqué ese estilo: decidí ser un tipo distinto de músico, más popular. Pero ello no quiere decir que sólo voy a tocar jazz”.

Ya sea en la música clásica o el jazz o en algún estilo híbrido de improvisación afrocubana que aún falta definir, es seguro que Rubalcaba permanecerá por muchos años en la vanguardia de los pianistas contemporáneos. “Depende del tipo de transición que atraviese”, dice. “Eso determinará el tipo de música que toque”.

Backstage with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Downbeat, Sept 2002 by Philip Booth

Rubalcaba’s four “Invitation Series” performances at the 23rd edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival amounted to a homecoming of sorts: He made his North American debut at the festival in 1988, with his own Grupo Projecto, and in 1989 he performed with Charlie Haden at the bassist’s own “Invitation” concerts (captured on Haden’s Montreal Tapes albums). Cuba-born Rubalcaba, based in South Florida since 1996, spoke with Down Beat at the historic, ornate Monument National in Montreal, the site of the pianist’s four-night late June festival stand. Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s virtuosity, coupled with a ferocious intensity, has driven his remarkable music career, during which he’s pursued thoughtful, intriguing explorations of the Latin jazz continuum. His albums and live performances draw from bebop, traditional Cuban music and his extensive classical training.

It’s a big challenge. It’s difficult every night to show people different formats and a different musical language. But this has been great, because at the same time you have the opportunity to play with people who maybe you haven’t played with in along time. So it’s a different moment-you see what they’re doing, you can bring your new experience. The result has been fresh. I remember when Joe Lovano and I did Flying Colors in ’97. The last time that we did that music was two-and-a-half years ago, and now we’re here in Montreal with a lot of new things, with a lot of new material, new energy and a new vibe. But that’s beautiful because it’s not only what you can give, it’s also what you can learn from the other guys.

WAS THERE A PARTICULAR KIND OF PORTRAIT OF YOU AS A MUSICIAN THAT YOU WANTED TO PRESENT OVER THE COURSE OF THESE FOUR EVENINGS?

The first day was the Inner Voyage music in trio with Carlos [Henriquez] and Ignacio [Berroa], which was very quiet music in general. Then came Joe Lovano: Playing duet with Joe was another musical dimension. It was more abstract, more avant-garde. We had to think about how to play, how to sound as an ensemble, a big ensemble with just two people using the whole range of the instruments-the piano, saxophones, percussion, Joe was using gongs and drums. Every time that we play together is like [trying to] recompose the piece. Yesterday with Charlie and David [Sanchez], that was the mellow, romantic part of the series. We played part of the Nocturne album. We also tried to play standards that not many people play all the time-“Nefertiti,” “Monk’s Mood,” some of Charlie’s tunes and some boleros from Mexico without drums or percussion. That was the challenge to be there, together, all the time. And tonight is more of a-I don’t know how to call it-Latin or Afro-Cuban ensemble with a lot of jazz chords. Basically, it’s original compositions. Over four days people can see different portraits of me, a different frame every night with different energy and attitude. We’re looking for art, beauty and different themes, structures and harmonies.

CHARLIE HADEN HAS BEEN A REAL MENTOR FOR YOU, IN TERMS OF BRINGING YOU ALONG AND INTRODUCING YOU TO AUDIENCES. TEll ME ABOUT THE MUSICAL CHEMISTRY BETWEEN YOU AND CHARLIE.

Most important to me is Charlie’s attitude. He’s always very open and in total disposition to go somewhere, anywhere, especially with Cuban music or music from South America, Latin America. He’s always listening to musicians from Cuba, Brazil and Argentina. That makes our relationship very easy, because I learn from his culture and he learns with us about our culture. That has been the great bridge.

HAVE YOU STARTED TO WORK ON YOUR NEXT RECORD?

We are working on it, and thinking about bringing people into the studio like Joe Lovano.

SO IT WILL BE YOUR TRIO WITH JOE?

And Dianne Reeves and Cassandra Wilson. We’ll see. I’m still thinking about the concept of the record. We’re supposed to record in September.

—Down Beat, Sept 2002

dwnbeatsept2002int pdf

Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio

Gonzalo and Chick “Improvisation”

Gonzalo and Chick play “Spain”

“Diz” Liner Notes

Bebop was the first concious step of afro-american musicians toward the renewal of their own cultural and historic being. It was a surprising advance that incorporated every modern musical tendency allowing the clash of jazz with its own roots through the cuban component-stressed when Chano Pow joined Gillespie‘s band-and keeping as a constant the character of improvisational music and the preference for the small instrumental formations. This was not a simple call for integration but fusion itself. To the cunning work that keeps and denies time, educates and convinces us all about the existence of Glory. To Diz, father and friend.

GONZALO RUBALCABA

“Supernova” Liner Notes

GONZALO RUBALCABA: he is a luminary among musicians. A pianist-composer ,ensemble leader-recording artist, blazing an unparalleled arc in the 21st-century firmament, Rubalcaba makes music of substance that’s enlightening, enriching and enlivening in this moment. Supernova is a point of shining excellence in his path to an as-yet-unlimited apex. It’s also his most revealing recording to date of his Cuban musical heritage; its African, European and the Caribbean sources, and the music’s unfolding potential in the ever-changing New World. Pursuing precedents set by his 20th-century countrymen Alejandro Garcia Caturla and Amadeo Roldan, Rubalcaba asserts through both his compositions and far-ranging improvisations that all his island nation’s unique indigenous styles, from the elegant Danzon to the balladic bolero to the earthy son, share tangled roots, which, when interwoven, have unusual flexibility andstrength. Applying ultra-modern jazz sensibilities and a virtuosic vocabulary to the classical and vernacular genres he mastered as a childprodigy in Havana, Rubalcaba is on a mission to fix Afro-Cuban-American music where it belongs, among the most prominent constellations in the sky. Fueled by such aspirations, his performances gleam with diamond-like facets, variously bright, warm, cool, smoldering and hot. Each of his pieces sparkle with nuance—as if an arch of the eyebrow, shrug of the shoulder or shift of the hipsaccompanied flashing fingers, which might spin most anything into spontaneous, lyrical song. Gorgeous melodies, far-flung harmonies and rampant polyrhythms connote the life Rubalcaba has observed over more than 15 years of traversing the globe, making music on command for discerning audiences in first-rank clubs, festivals and concert halls. His reflections are romantic, wry, poetic and refined, but can often be dark. He plays with an experttouch beautiful ideas and finely-focused energy.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Ron Carter, Julio Barreto

“Antiguo” Liner Notes

“Está hecho con máquina”

Muchas veces oí decir o leía de la critica especializada “Ya la música forma parte de un proceso industrializado” o mas simple y casi despectivo “Está hecho con máquina” si se reconocía la incidencia de manipulación tecnológica (midi y audio digital) en los distintos procesos  creativos en la producción de obra musical.  Y que en géneros como el jazz o la música clásica, perturban aun más a un grupo de “puristas” que sentían que tales procedimientos tecnológicos, competían o desvirtuaban la autentica manufactura y el depurado virtuosismo de sus creadores.

Este criterio creó toda una tendencia equivoca donde algunos de los más importantes musicos y creadores se sintieron intimados y se refugiaron en una cómoda postura “Unplugged” para escapar del dedo acusador de la crítica especializada, sin darse cuenta que paradójicamente  por un lado la evolución de la ciencia y la tecnología les estaba brindado fabulosas herramientas de trabajo y por otro se habían llenado de prejuicios a la ora de utilizarlas.

¿Por qué?

“Antiguo” es el resultado  de un extenso proceso de trabajo creativo donde la tecnología jugó un rol protagónico y fue utilizada de manera exhaustiva, al limite de las posibilidades del momento. Fue la herramienta indispensable que junto al depurado virtuosismo y el ingenio creativo de Gonzalo, definen el resultado estético e hicieron posible la realización de una obra discográfica de tal magnitud.

También es un bello ejemplo de muchas horas de trabajo experimental sin prejuicios.

Espero que en su disfrute encuentren la inspiración y confianza que nosotros tuvimos, para utilizar las herramientas tecnológicas de la época que nos toco vivir y decir con orgullo “está hecho con máquina”

Notes for Antigua

To think that there is progress in arts is one of the most damaging and common mistakes of Critics. Some people dare to reject or accept a work of art based on whether it is “modern” or not, this artirude puts any aesthetic analysis in a less than realistic light. What makes anypiece of art valuable is its timelessness and its capacity of reaching many people of different cultures and eras. If someone would write today as Homer or Dante did, he would have to be accepted and appreciated because the greatness of the work lies on its inner truth and coherence, not in any external condition. Cermuda depicted fame.. He looked for the poet’s glory. That glory is not eternal; thepoet is the son of time. It is not salvation either; the poet did not come to change or redeem the world, he came to idealize it. To Cermuda, the glory is in the artwork, in the well done verse chained to form — the living and thythmic body of the poem. He looked for glory not beyond time in the kingdom of incorruptible ideas, but in the beat of everyday work. He did not conceive glory as a symmertically petfect object. Instead, he looked for the perfection of live things that accept the complexity of the irregulat, of things that Bodeliet called bizarre, of things that lead to emptiness, death, the horrible and unnameable. The work does not exist without a reader to rescue it from the grave. Every teading is resurrection and a transmutation brought along by the support of the reader. The work of art rises and walks. Thanks to the reader, the poet is glorified thtough the poem. Names are unimportant. What matters and remains is the work of the poet. The poem is an embroidery of words and its temporality will be determined by its capacity to capture the truth. Art and authenticity are the double conditions for art to live. The artwork is not the ending. It is just a moment. Its life goes on everytime reader a rescues it and gives birth to a new poet. Glory is tradition. Glory is not the immortality of man but the continuity of language. A poem contains two enemy halves: culture and nature, instinct and conscience, fatality and liberty. They are tied to one another in a pact destined to be constantly broken.

Version from William Ospina’s “Es tarde paraen Hombre”

“Strength is born from necessity and dies in freedom”

Leonardo da Vinci

With all the things from childhood, the games and boleroes, talk and charangas, with all

that careless time, with fact of  that music smelling like authentic nature, I fulfill the circuit

of my life. Going through time sick and wise, white and black, contrary and brave, inspired

in the history of lamps, laurels, legs deserts and hills.

GONZALO

Thank’s to all who gave time and space for rhis production: musicians, executives, friends,

family and enemies.

Thanks to so many ancient emorions and the antiquity of dreams.

l. OPENING

Keyboards: Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Sequencing: Gonzalo Rubalcaba/Mario Garcia

2. CIRCUITO III

Piano & Keyboards: Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Trumpet: Reynaldo Me/ian

Bass: Felipe Cabrera

Drums: Julio Barreto

Sequencing: Gonzalo Rubalcaba/Mario Garcia

3. ELLIOKO (Yoruba word for”Two”)

This piece is dedicated to the Cuban Santeria God “Ochosi” – humer, physician, fortune teller and savior· one of the warriors of the Santeria iconography together with Eleggua and Oggun. Ochosi, who is identified with the arrow, is the son of Goddess Yernaya. Mother of the Sea, and brother of Inle – the Supreme Physician. The story is based on a Paraki (legend) and is structured into five choruses, each developing a moral, “Ochosi’s Pataki” . It is said that the day after Ochosi hunted 105 parrots, he promised Obatala (God of Minds and Thoughts) an offering of all the feathers from the birds. Having made the promise, Ochosi left the 105 parrots at home unril the following day. Meanwhile, Ochosi’s mother came home and, as usual, looked for what her son had hunted. She found the parrots, cooked them. threw away the feathers and took the food to a party with her friends. When Ochosi returned home, he became angry believing that someone had stolen his birds. He went back to the forest and hunted 105 more parrots and offered the feathers to Obarala as promised. Having acknowledged Ochosi’s skills, Obarala conceded him an “ache (miracle)”. Ochosi’s choice was ro make his arrows infallible whenever he used them. The first person ro whom the miracle was ro work was the one who had taken the 105 parrors, whomever it may have been. When Ochosi rerurned home, he found his mother dead with her heart pierced by her son’s arrow. In a life where we go from happiness to failure “ires ro Osobbos”, anger and lack of deliberation can drive us to a tragic ending. Departing from a motivic (dynamic) rhythm, the composer builds the entire structure by following the “marchanti” characrer of almost all the chants to Ochosi. Instead of a melodic theme, there is a rhythm pattern that sustains the exchange between chants and music. Through a careful research on the rites for Ochosi. the piece was written by tracing the emotions suggested by the legend. The piece was then adapted by Apwon Lazaro Ros, a connoisseur of Santeria, so that the chants tell the story of the legend. There is a unity among the Afrocuban percussion, drums and sequenced elements that suggest an alternare exchange between the traditional and the rational. The formal construction follows the patrern of showing the same sections with slight variations each time.

“The Blessing” Liner Notes

If Gonzalo Rubalcaba was “discovered” by Charlie Haden during a 1986 Liberation Music Orchestra tour of Cuba and first introduced to the international jazz world through his surprise 1990 Montreux Jazz fest appearance with Haden and drummer Paul Motian (heard on Discovery,) The Blessing is the wondrous studio debut of a phenomenally gifted and mature artist. If Gonzalo is the brilliantly original heir of a Havana family long celebrated for its musicality, a student since early consciousness of his father Guilhermos’ piano tenure with Enrique Torrin’s Orchestra, classically trained since age eight (he was born in 1963) and tutored in the creative hothouse of a Caribbean capitol during the flowering of lrakere under the stewardship of Fidel, The Blessing is the hoped·for product of synthesized genetic and social forces, the graceful result of interwoven nature and nurture. If music of this high an order can only be made by three minds in noble collaboration, the utmost sensitivity to touch and nuances of interplay raised to the third power, The Blessing ranks among the finest examples of a genre that embraces the equilateral trios headed by pianists Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett no less than Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Tatum, Ellington, Basie and Monk. If passionate, contemplative and committed romance is in order, The Blessing is the perfect score. From the opening “Circuito” to the finale “Mima”-two of Gonzalo’s rhapsodic compositions-through Haden’s portrait of the Nicaraguan patriot “Sandino,” Ornette Coleman’s lyrically jaunty “The Blessing,” Jack DeJohnette’s haunting “Silver Hollow,” Rubalcaba’s intensely personal themes “Sinpunto y Contracopa” (pointless and contrary?) and “Sin remedio, el mar” (the inevitable sea), the classic Latin ballad “Besame Mucho” (kiss me lots) and Trane’s “Giant Steps,” which incredibly he makes his own, the pianist simply froths, his freedom of sense and sensuality spilling over. As DeJohnette reinforces and accentuates the subtle structures and Haden provides a rock solid basis upon which to found sweeping harmonic adventures, Rubalcaba allows emotional credibility to overwhelm technical prowess. Both his integrity and his skill are impossible to fake, and at levels daunting to imitate. Of the dozen or so fine, diversely accomplished young pianists who’ve emerged in the ’80s-after a period during which the acoustic instrument suffered neglect in favor of electronic keyboards, despite breakthroughs by several eminent underground players Gonzalo is suddenly a major figure. That he is hamstrung by U.S. Immigration and State Department restrictions on performing in America or even engaging in profitable activity directly with U.S. firms does not prevent him from appealing to American ears. The hint of montuno occasionally breaking through his improvisations is as familiar to jazz as the Latin tinge Jelly Roll Morton cited in New Orleans’ music. There is no way to keep such communicative music from spreading to those who want and need it. Similarly, whoever tries to contain or hoard such splendid blossomings of imagination and creativity threatens to waste the precious emanations by allowing their source to dry up. However, Gonzalo Rubalcaba does not seem in danger of any government’s suppression. His music is a model of a Cuban national’s art for all the world to admire. His fingers sing not of a political program, but of a human soul’s perceptions and expressions. That his connections with Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette (and Paul Motian and Chico Hamilton and Dizzy Gillespie, with whom he’s jammed) flow so effortlessly, without contrivance or even very much rehearsal, speaks volumes about the commonality of mankind. That Gonzalo has absorbed so much of contemporary America’s jazz culture also attests to the failure of artificial borders to restrain the natural passage of feeling and thought. Deep and fundamental beauty is the unexpected but welcomed hallmark of Gonzalo’s music. Neither his earlier recordings on the Cuban Engrem and the German Messidor labels, nor concerts with his fusion group Projecto quite foreshadowed the achievements herein. Perhaps the company he’s kept inspired him; if so, may the pianist always find collaborators as stimulating, alert and empathetic as Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette (that in itself will be hard). Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s future is unpredictable, but his promise now is certain. His music offers true balm and insight to whoever turns to it. He’s blessed, and this album is a blessing. Of that there’s no disguise.

-Howard Mandel

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