Filed under: Jazz Roots
Cuban-born piano dynamo Alfredo Rodriguez has been in this country for less than a year but his professional trajectory already reflects a touching example of the great American dream. The son of a famous Cuban vocalist, Rodriguez has an astonishing, undeniable virtuosic talent at the piano, and came to the attention of über producer Quincy Jones at the Montreux Festival in 2000. Just under a year ago, Rodriguez decided to follow his dream in the United States, and last Friday the piano protégé made his Miami debut at the Adrienne Arsht Center as part of Jazz Roots: Piano Latino.
As recounted by Quincy Jones, Rodriguez’s phenomenal talent and artistic vision led him on a quest to leave Cuba and pursue his musical dreams stateside. In a storybook twist of fate, Rodriguez was stopped at the Mexican border while trying to defect. Rather than lie to the authorities, 24-year-old Rodriguez moved the authorities with his story – so much so that they called a car and gave him taxi fare to cross the border and follow his dreams! After a week of local press appearances here in Miami, Rodriguez took to the stage for a warm South Florida welcome for this incredibly promising young talent and near native son.
In a triple threat bill, the evening also featured Multiple Grammy Award-winner Eddie Palmieri, and the brilliant and legendary Michel Camilo. In a rousing finale, all three artists filled the stage with salsa, son, and superb artistry, even playing at the same piano as the audience cheered in delight. “Otra, otra, otra,” the crowd chanted, hoping for just one more tune… so the pianists played on, the audience danced in the aisles, and another American dream took flight.
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