Gonzalo Rubalcaba / Pedrito Martinez

Photos by Tom Ehrlich

Gonzalo Rubalcaba / Pedrito Martinez

Called “a pianist of almost supernatural abilities” by The New York Times, Gonzalo Rubalcaba is the most celebrated Cuban musician of his generation, a virtuoso of jaw-dropping technical command whose improvisational prowess helped pave the way for the wave of brilliant Latin American jazz musicians that followed in his wake. One of these is Cuban conguero Pedrito Martinez, who’s played an essential role in infusing Afro-Cuban currents into American music since settling in New York City in 1998, recording and performing with very high-ranking artists. This “21st Century Rumba King” became a sensation himself in 2008 with his quartet rooted in the percussion-driven Afro-Cuban rumba tradition, which includes sacred batá rhythms and Yoruban chants of Santería.

After collaborating together on albums like XXI Century (2011) and Suite Caminos (2015), Rubalcaba and Martinez team up again for a duo performance that promises to be an explosive journey into the thumping heart of Cuban rhythm.