Rye Jazz proudly present Cuba’s most exciting pianist. When it comes to 21st-century Afro-Cuban jazz, Roberto Fonseca is one of the music’s brightest lights.
For nearly two decades, the pianist and composer has anchored his music with deep roots in various Afro-Cuban idioms without being confined to them.
His most recent albums have illustrated Cuba’s cultural exchanges with other cosmopolitan music: Nigeria’s Afrobeat, Puerto Rico’s reggaeton, Brazil’s bossa nova and the States’ contemporary jazz and hip-hop.
Date: Monday 29 August 2022, 3-5pm
More about Roberto Fonseca and his work:
The dazzling musician The New York Times called “a charismatic spark plug of a pianist from Cuba” made his debut at the Havana International Jazz Festival in 1990 when he was 15.
Ten years and several solo albums later, the rousing young jazz pianist joined the internationally acclaimed orchestra of charismatic sonero Ibrahim Ferrer, touring the world and recording and producing his last release “Mi sueño. A bolero Songbook“. The album received a Latin Grammy nomination in the category of Best Tropical Latin Album.
Fonseca also played with Buena Vista Social Club™, joining great the cast of stars such as Ibrahim Ferrer, Orlando ‘Cachaíto’ López, Rubén González, Guajiro Mirabal y Manuel Galbán and he also recorded and toured with another of its frontline stars Omara Portuondo.
He produced the Grammy Awarded album “Gracias” by Cuban diva Omara Portuondo, a special project with stellar collaborations from Jorge Drexler, Chico Buarque, Avishai Cohen and Trilok Gurtuk.
An ingenious composer and producer who draws on a wide range of musical traditions and genres, over the years he has released his own projects such as: “Zamazu“, “Akokan” and “Jazz in Marciac“.
Fonseca brought together Cuban and African musicians for his highly praised 2012 recording and GRAMMY nominated “YO” (in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album), a mix of acoustic and electric sounds The Times called “by turns folkloric and turbo-charged.”
In 2014 Fonseca released the album “At Home” along with Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, producing this transatlantic meeting of sounds and cultures. The keyboardist, wrote Down Beat , “is a terrific example of what makes 21st century improvised music so exciting: Fonseca is part of a generation of musicians who feel that all sounds from all countries are accessible to them, either in acoustic, electric or digitised form.”
ABUC is the title of his eighth album and the first to appear on the famous impulse! label. It reveals another of his facets: Roberto Fonseca is a storyteller. Teeming with rascally rhythms and burly brass, and woven from allusions, souvenirs and contrasts, ABUC is a kaleidoscope of dancing colours which Roberto uses to tell a story: the great and rich narrative of Cuban music, from yesterday to today. The album featured stellar collaborators such as Trombone Shorty, Eliades Ochoa, Zé Luis Nascimento, Rafael Lay and Roberto Espinosa Rodríguez from Orquesta Aragón, Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal. “ABUC is an astonishingly broad, tightly fused and incandescently delivered vision.” The Guardian
Afromambo was Fonseca’s very first videoclip and received a Lucas Award (renowned Cuban Award) and the single was included in the very best of 2016 playlists.
During his career, Roberto Fonseca has collaborated with Mayra Andrade, Regina Carter, Anat Cohen, Carlinhos Brown, Vicente Amigo, Kepa Junkera, Snarky Puppy, Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Nils Petter Molvær; performing in Palais des Congrès (París), Royal Albert Hall (London), Beacon Theatre (New York), Sydney Opera House (Australia), Frankfurt Alter Oper (Frankfurt), Jazz in Marciac, Festival de Jazz de Montreaux, the New York City Center Hall, Festival Jazz de Tokyo. He was also co-producer along with British Dj Gilles Peterson of Havana Cultura New Cuban Sound Vol I and II, and he participated at the Olympic Games celebrations in London 2010.
Roberto Fonseca was nominated Artistic Director along with Chucho Valdés of the International Jazz Plaza Festival held in Havana and Santiago de Cuba.
Fonseca’s most recent album (2020) is Yesun.