Review | Songlines

Viento y Tiempo: Live at Blue Note Tokyo

Rating: ★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details


Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Aymée Nuviola


Top Stop Music


In August 2019 the award-winning Cuban artists Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aymée Nuviola teamed up to play six sold-out nights at the prestigious Blue Note in Tokyo. The childhood friends and fellow music students have each forged careers of international, multiple Grammy-winning acclaim. Rubalcaba – whose oeuvre embraces Western jazz, the classical canon and the roots of Afro-Cuban music – has been called ‘a pianist of almost supernatural abilities’ by The New York Times. Nicknamed ‘La Sonera del Mundo’, Nuviola is a singer whose versatility extends across salsa, timba and boleros to bossa nova and nueva trova. Two greats, then, whose coming together on this eight-track album of classics and originals is cause for celebration. Of all the innumerable covers of ‘El Manisero’ (‘The Peanut Vendor’), has one ever sounded so authentic and fresh?

Backed by a band on saxophone, bass, drums and percussion, the two artists pay tribute to the sounds that flow through the streets of Havana while showing off their own brand of consummate musicality. There are to-die-for renditions of ‘Bemba Colorá’ and ‘Lágrimas Negras’. But the gold lies in new works, notably Nuviola’s own swaying ‘Rumba Callejera’ featuring her sister Lourdes Nuviola on backing vocals, which feels like a classic, respun.

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