"The teacher of Bill Evans has been my school and my guide" - La Provincia
You are a jazz musician, but in the Guiniguada you will play your solo piano disc where it includes many genres.
I do not want to be pigeonholed in the role solely of jazz pianist, because I really like this instrument to reduce me to a label. In the concert there will be boleros, waltzes, my compositions, etc. There are very minimalist things that are very Satie style, with that French impressionism. But basically they are styles that I like, although the concert is within the programming of Jazz Autumn of this 2018. It will be very influenced by Chucho Valdés.
How have you chosen the topics that you are going to interpret?
It will be like a medley of everything I've done: there are the standards, the jazz ballads, the Latin-jazz, my compositions, a tribute to José Antonio Ramos, two collaborations with Germán López and Germán Arias. It's going to be a total interpretation of the album, but depending on how I see it from time, it's very likely that I'll also put some songs from my first album titled Piano solo.
What would you highlight about those 16 songs that you recorded?
There is a classic by César Portillo as I learned with you. It is also The Walker of Germán Arias who composed it for a specific show but he liked it so much how I played it that he allowed me to record it for my record. There are the themes of musicians that I admire as My song by Keith Jarret, Summertime from Gershwin or Waltz for Debby by Bill Evans. Mine are Mc Y Nana for Jar that I wrote for José Antonio Ramos. In the subject He screwed up the party I fuse the Canarian chants of Tobaldo Power with the theme of Chick Corea. And I remember Clifford by Benny Golson I will play with German Arias with fliscornium.
And what happened to that initial album that he recorded in Russia and that seems to be untraceable on streaming platforms?
It was a record that I recorded ten years ago when I was studying the upper grade in the State School of Mikhail Glinka in Nizhny Novgorod and I recorded it in the same conservatory of that center. It is not an album that I like to promote because the media was not very good and the sound is precarious.
Does the form of the songs change a lot in their live performances?
Obviously because, precisely, Piano Solo 2 is a recording that was live. Not that there was an audience in the room, but I played the song from top to bottom and if I liked it I would leave it and if I did not repeat it again. But all the introductions came to me at that moment. Then there are other issues that have to be much more defined. But, above all, it prevails, both on my record and on the concerts, the freedom to play as you come out at that moment. Therefore, there will be differences.
You were part of a project with David Williams.
It was in 1988 in a festival that was celebrated in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. I played with David Williams in the Guayabo Orchestra that was formed many years ago in the Canary Islands. We participated in the Festival Jazztiembre that was held at the Guimerá Theater and where all the groups that were at the peak at that time performed. There they passed Polo Ortiz Trio or Kike Perdomo with their quartet and there were prizes for the best soloist, the best composition, etc. Dave Williams won the award for the best band. It was an award that only occurred in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Do you think that in the Canaries there are very good jazz musicians?
I, even from a time a little later in 4 or 5 years, always felt admiration for Polo Ortiz, Kike Perdomo, etc. They were people who were very restless with jazz and at first you had to learn practically alone. There was a school in Tenerife of an Argentine called Bebe Martin, which was similar to that of Luis Vecchio in Gran Canaria, a school where musicians like Montelongo, the Roque brothers, etc. They came out very prepared. The means were very scarce then. I had a professor at Polo Ortí and I was lucky enough to be a scholarship holder to study at Berkley. But today we are lucky that Berkley is in Valencia and the workshop of Músics in Barcelona. Although there are still many young Canaries, of the new generations, who continue to go to Boston. But the canary does not have to feel complex with any other nationality because I see very good level here. Although the resources are very few and the aids still shine today due to their absence.
Their participation with the Municipal Symphonic Band of Las Palmas and the Gran Canaria Big Band are common.
With the Gran Canaria Big Band I have done some punctual things, mainly because their pianist is Rayco León and I have collaborated only when he has to go abroad, etc. But with the Symphonic Municipal Band of Las Palmas I play regularly. In fact, now I play the 30th with them, in the Doramas park at the International Gospel Festival.
Now he also teaches music at the Conservatory.
Yes, first I was two years at the Conservatory of Music of Tenerife and in 2018 I have been called to enter the Conservatory of Las Palmas. I started last October and I'm giving piano jazz and modern accompaniment. He is starting the modern department in Las Palmas. I give four hours of class per week and, then, I accompany modern students who have to play in the exams.
What are your main reference musicians?
Some of them are on the disk. And I had the luck in 1994 to be the opening act for Chick Corea, who is one of my favorite pianists, in La Laguna. But on this album I play two songs by my two pianists. The My song by Keith Jarret. And Waltz for Debby by Bill Evans, who died in the eighties, but somehow his mastery has been my school and my guide because I've heard it a lot and I admire it a lot. He was the only white pianist to play with Miles Davis, so imagine if he was good.
And what would you highlight most in a personal capacity?
For starters, I love your introversion. He was a musician who, when he played, barely looked at the audience. And at that moment, in clubs in New York, you always saw him with glasses and his hair back, with a cigar in his mouth and a glass of whiskey in his hand. Those were some signs of his identity. But, above all, I admire the knowledge he had of harmony and his way of playing. It fills me a lot, I have not heard anyone play in such a superb way.
And could you highlight some discs in particular from his wide discography?
It has a lot of records since before they were going to play and they were recording practically everything. But there are two mainly. One that is called Conversations with myself that he records a piano on a theme, repeats it again, and on the other records another piano: it was as if he were talking to another pianist but he is really talking to himself. And it is also essential for me the sessions he recorded from the Village vanguard. But, of course, the Waltz for Debby that is also the song that gives name to his album.