Album of the week – Tocororo by Alfredo Rodriguez
‘Tocororo’ by Alfredo Rodriguez is Eastside Radio’s album of the week.
This week we give some well deserved special attention to the highly talented pianist and composer Alfredo Rodriguez the man who left Cuba to undertake ‘The American Dream” and to share stages with some of the best in the business is what he done. The Grammy nominated artist has given us another album full of his own unique stylings and romantic sounds.
Released on the 4th of March this year it is the third album we have been given from Rodriguez since his debut release ‘Sounds of Space’ back in 2011. Alfredo’s trip to the U.S. may have been slightly daunting at first as who knew what lied ahead but with his skills and training in Havana it didn’t take long for him to get noticed as the legendary Quincy Jones took notice of the young pianist and brought him on board, Jones now produces and manages Rodriguez.
The album itself is named after the national bird of Cuba the Tocororo. The story of the Tocororo is that if caged dies of sadness, reflecting not only the desire for liberty but the necessity of it. Given this Rodriguez wanted to express his own life in the meaning of that, he is quoted saying “It wasn’t that I would’ve given up on music if I stayed in Cuba—I definitely would have continued to do what I love, but it wasn’t the right environment for my music to flourish.” He says “Just as the Tocororo, my music needs room to fly. Because I left, I have now been able to discover new grounds that I would not have been able to previously explore.” We can see now how such great Jazz figures such as Quincy Jones have been a great impact on his life and music career giving him the right connections and pathways he needed to make it in America and that is certainly what he has done.
Across 13 tracks we don’t just hear from the man himself there is an array of talent featuring on the album such Richard Bona- Bass, Ariel Bringuez – Clarinet, Flute, Sax (Sop), Ganavya Doraiswamy – Featured Artist Vox, Ibeyi – Featured Artist Vox, Quincy Jones – EP, Michael Olivera – Arranger, Drums and Percussion and Elizrde Ruano – Bass (Acoustic). With such a host of talent working together on the album you can really hear the different influences shining through. The unique spark with Alfredo is that he does not define himself to just one particular genre he is able to surprise the listener as he starts off deep and mellow it can quite quickly turn into a completely different arrangement, crossing from classical to slightly funky but remaining in his world of Cuban Jazz.
In Tocoroco it is not all about the Cuban sounds we get a mixture of cultural touches coming through especially the vocals from Indian singer and multi – instrumentalist Ganavya Doraiswamy and the experienced playing from Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona mixed in as well, these are going to be some of the crowd favourites off the album. With that said if you are looking for some great Cuban sounding piano keys they are there too, the very first track off the album “Chan Chan” sets the tone with some nice uplifting rhythms and “Sabanas Blancas” which is a love song to Havana midway through is a lovely feel good number. If you are looking for some fresh piano sounds that look outside the box then your usual status quo then this is the one to pick up.
1. Chan Chan
2. Yemayá featuring Ibeyi
3. Raíces [Roots] featuring Richard Bona
4. Gitanerías featuring Antonio Lizana
5. Tocororo featuring Ganavya
6. Venga La Esperanza featuring Ibrahim Maalouf
7. Ay, Mamá Inés featuring Richard Bona
8. Sabanas Blancas featuring Ibeyi
9. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
10. Kaleidoscope featuring Ibrahim Maalouf and Ganavya
11. Adiós Nonino
13. Ay, Mamá Inés Remix featuring Richard Bona
Richard Bona- Bass
Ariel Bringuez – Clarinet, Flute, Sax (Sop)
Ganavya Doraiswamy – Featured Artist Vox
Ibeyi – Featured Artist Vox
Quincy Jones – EP
Michael Olivera – Arranger, Drums and Percussion
Alfredo Rodriguez – Arranger, Composer, Melodion, Piano, Producer, Synthesizer, Vox
Reiner Elizrde Ruano – Bass (Acoustic)
You can follow Alfredo Rodriguez career at alfredomusic.com or via his FACEBOOK page. For an extended listen to the album, tune in on Thursday from 1.30PM – 2PM for ‘Album of the Week’ with Josh Crosbie. Don’t forget to also listen out for your opportunity to win a copy of ‘Tocororo’ all week. You must be a supporter to win so make sure to sign up at http://eastsidefm.org/support-us-2/. You can also stream the station at WWW.EASTSIDEFM.ORG.