The fusion of danzón, son, rumba and other genres with jazz makes this music a mix that gets us in to the most ancient Cuban rhythms, decorated with the sounds of today.
Marked by the culture of his home province, Matanzas, Alejandro Falcón has stayed true to the legacy of musicians that accompany him in his creative muses, such as Amadea Roldán, Alejandro García Caturla and Lecuona.
He paid homage to them in the work “Raíces profundas de mi monte espiritual” (Deep roots of my spiritual hill), performed in 2009 by the Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba (Cuban National Symphony) and more recently by the Orquesta de Cámara de La Habana (Havana Chamber Orchestra), directed by Dayana Garcia, who is considered one of the most important orchestral conductors on the island.
This and other pieces like “La bibijagua”, “Vals para Oshún” (Waltz for Oshún), or “Que nadie se meta con Rodrigo” (No-one mess with Rodrigo) and “Obba Meyi”, specifically dedicated to his quena-playing friend who accompanied him in this last tune, rang out loudly from the Nicolás Casullo auditorium.
This last piece is a great novelty. It is the first latin jazz written for quena, a traditional Andean instrument from the Southern Cone that now sounds together with contemporary music and jazz, thanks to the creative magic of these artists.
Falcón, who still flourishes today, is a musician with one of the most solid careers of his generation. He seems to be an unstoppable machine.
On top of his own creations, he doesn’t stop producing for artists on the island and beyond. In spite of his youth, he carries these indigenous rhythms, which are perhaps forgotten by today’s new generations, infused in his blood.
In Cuba, he says, rumba, mambo, contradanza, bolero, danzonete, and chá chá chá sprang forth with all of their variants and styles and with the roots of ethnicities that were on the island (such as Spanish and French) they created a stew that, today, is our musical syncretism.
“In my case, I try to recreate Cuban son music, rumba with afrocuban elements and fuse it with jazz and contemporary music.
It’s a debt that I will always have and I will defend it, I’m a Matancero and I will always stand up for danzón and rumba, genres embedded in my roots”, he declares.
The text gathers piano pieces that delve into Cuban music from its beginnings to free works, with danzóns, from basic to advanced levels.
Today, “Dancing between bridges” is found across the globe in places like the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz in New York, the Dominican Republic and now in Argentina.
“For me, it is a task to protect our music and take it to all parts of the world”, stresses the artist who, during his career, has had the opportunity to work with personalities such as Cesaria Evora, Chucho Valdés, Herbie Hancock, Gal Costa, Marcus Miller and El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico (The Puerto Rico Big Band), to cite only a few examples.
On current Cuban piano practices, Falcón considers that a very broad movement exists, especially in jazz, thanks to the Jo Jazz festival, that has trained almost three generations, all with international careers.
“Today there is a very high level, we have a strong school and a lot of approval in jazz and also classical and contemporary music”, he emphasizes.
Unstoppable now in 2017 and with many projects for the coming year, after his trip through Argentina, Falcón will appear in Germany at the “Enjoy Jazz” festival and later on he will participate in the Spaniard María del Mar Bonet’s 50-year career celebration tour.
On the record (in which other prominent artists from the island will participate, such as Pancho Amat, José María Vitier, Jorge Reyes, Hector Quintana and Oliver Valdés), he was in charge of arranging the piece “Amor de Indio” (Indian Love).
Later he hopes to return to Cuba to work full-time on the presentation (in January 2018) of his CD “Mi monte espiritual” (My spiritual hill) that will be released at the Festival Jazz Plaza with the Orquesta de Cámara de La Habana (Havana Chamber Orchestra) and its quartet. (PL)
(Translated by Sarah Claman) – Photos: PL & Pixabay