Alfredo Rodriguez: Tocororo review - heading in new and unorthodox directions

Wed, May 25, 2016, 17:33



Alfredo Rodriguez

Mack Avennue


Rising Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez defected to LA seven years ago.

His third release as leader (produced by his manager and mentor, the great Quincy Jones) is the sound of a young musician spreading his wings and opening up to influences from across the globe.

Not that the Havana native has abandoned his roots: the Tocororo is the national bird of Cuba, and the album opens with a deft exploration of Compay Segundo’s Chan Chan, which also opens the all-conquering Buena Vista Social Club album.

His collaborations with Indian vocalist Ganavaya Doraiswamy, French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf and, especially, the great Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona, take the Cuban virtues of rhythmic precision and heart-on-the-sleeve romanticism in new and unorthodox directions.