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Gonzalo Rubalcaba had only just entered his 30s by the time he took to the stage of the Munich Summer Piano Festival. The highly-influential Cuban pianist had made a name for himself in the jazz world under the mentorship of Charlie Haden and was hungry to prove his right to be considered amongst the world's must-see pianists. Yet, rather than frills and bombast, he elected for a path of quiet and subtle virtuosity to make his point, forming a trio set made up of well-known reprisals.
Flanked by his fellow countryman, Julio Barreto, on drums and Ron Carter, the most prolific double bassist of all time, he covered music from a staggering range of past legends. Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Benny Golson, Charles Mingus, Bud Powell and more. It was a repertoire designed to please the crowd, but the Munich audience found in Rubalcaba much more than a talented interpreter that night – he was to lay the groundwork for modern Latin jazz pianists and his deftness of touch and inventive rhythmic and melodic marriages were already present in his playing.
Tuesday, March 31, 2026