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Alfredo Rodríguez is a 26 year old pianist born in Havana, Cuba. Classically trained as a boy, at 15 he heard a recording of Keith Jarett's The Köln Concert, and his life was changed.
Selected to play the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival, he was invited to a gathering at the house of Claude Nobs, who asked him if he would play for Quincy Jones. He played his own arrangement of "I Love You", a Cole Porter tune, and Mr. Jones told Mr. Rodríguez he wanted to work with him.
But it wasn't a magic carpet ride to recognition. Alfredo defected from Cuba, travelling to Mexico in 2009. He waded across the Rio Grande with a suitcase containing nothing but several T-shirts and his compostions. He was arrested by border police, and when questioned told them truth: He was here to work with Quincy Jones and start a career. He was eventually put into a cab and sent on his way.
Alfredo's new record is Sounds of Space. "The original title comes from a quote about music by José Martí, a Cuban writer and poet whose work has really touched me and influenced my work," explains Rodríguez. "Unfortunately, it didn’t sound as good in English as a title, so we chose a different tack. But Marti’s line says it all: 'Lo verdadero es lo que no termina: y la música está perpetuamente palpitando en el espacio.' That which is true never ends, and music is perpetually beating in space."
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