Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Duos – The Art of Conversation Part 1:
Richard Galliano and Gonzalo Rubalcaba

What’s so great about duos? I’ve heard many a musician say their favorite setting to play in is a duo because it’s like having a direct conversation – a one on one trading of ideas. You can really feed off each other’s ideas and let things go just about anywhere. Some great duos in the past include Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, Chris Potter and Kenny Werner, Charlie Haden and Hank Jones. These are some of my favorite records for the intimacy and content of ideas. I must also give a nod here to our very own saxophonist Mike Tremblay and pianist Mark Ferguson who released a duo record last year.

Well, there are a couple of really great duos featured at the festival this year. First on July 3rd Italian accordionist Richard Galliano will be playing with Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubelcaba and on June 27th, pianist Brad Mehldau and saxophonist Joshua Redman will be playing two sets at the National Arts Center.

Let’s start with Gonzalo Rubelcaba and Richard Galliano
What makes these duos great is that the musicians are all well versed in the duo setting. Gonzalo Rubelcaba has a great album with Joe Lovano, and Richard Galliano has shared more than one duo project with reedist Michel Portal, also with organist Eddy Louiss and bassist Ron Carter. Both the artists have grown up in a strong cultural tradition of music: Galliano is a master of Tango as well as the Italian accordion tradition, and Rubelcaba was brought up in the thick of the Cuban musical heritage. However both artists also share highly developed sense of improvisation and a love of the jazz repertoire, all of which makes this a very interesting coupling. 

A bit about the artists:
Son of the Italian-born accordion teacher Lucien Galliano, Richard Galliano is an accordionist’s accordionist and as well as a jazsolois’ts soloist. He has been able to become a real part of the world-music and accordion world having worked with artists such as Astor Piazzolla and Hermeto Pascoal. Galliano has also become a part of the jazz scene in projects with Charlie Haden, Jan Garbarek and Larry Granadier. The skill of a master accordionist with a fresh angle on the instrument.
Gonzalo Rubelcaba is a Cuban born pianist, a regular Blue Note Recording artist, not an easy task to maintain, known for his sheer virtuosity and a wide-ranging time feel that gives away his Cuban music heritage. He’s recorded many projects with Charlie Haden, as well as Michael Brecker and Joe Lovano to name a few.

The two share a love of jazz, classical and popular music that give the duo plenty of material to intertwine and will make this one of the intimate concerts not to miss.

The Richard Galliano Gonzalo Rubelcaba Duo is appearing at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival on Sunday July 3rd, 7pm at the National Arts Center Studio. Tickets available at

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