Saturday night at the Ottawa Jazz Festival I got to escape the rain and duck into the National Arts Centre’s 4th Stage to check out pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. I had planned all along to check him out, but the cool, dry environment was certainly a bonus.
The next time I get the chance to see the 27 year old Cuban musician, he can be playing outside during a raging North Country blizzard and that won’t keep me away.
Rodriguez was discovered by Quincy Jones at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival. The legendary producer has said of Rodriguez, “he is very special, and I do not say that easily because I have been surrounded by the best musicians in the world my entire life, and he is one of the best.” Jones produced Rodriguez’ 2012 CD, Sound of Space, and is producing his next one as well. I’ve played the CD often on The Bridge on Saturday nights.
I was lucky to be sitting just 8 feet from the pianist and was amazed by his passion, maturity, and sheer technique. He was often bouncing off the piano bench to find just the right notes. His bandmates, Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole and Bulgarian bassist Peter Slavov, were with him every step of the way.
There are lots of reasons why the future of jazz looks so bright, and Alfredo Rodriguez is certainly one of them.
The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival continues through July 1st with performances by Wayne Shorter, Nicholas Payton, Gregory Porter, Nikki Yanofsky and many others. Learn more at www.ottawajazzfestival.com.