JULY 3rd


with Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Giovanni Hidalgo

Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez

Armando Gola

Volcan, an all-star group featuring the  prodigious talents of Jose Armando Gola, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Giovanni  Hidalgo and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, is the  product of years of friendship, respect  and a diverse and rich musical heritage.  With over 150 albums between them as  leaders and side-men, these highly revered musicians have joined forces to our delight.

Why Volcan? The volcano incorporates the four elements of nature, Earth, Air, Wind and Fire. Looming large and at times ominously over otherwise unremarkable landscapes, the volcano reminds us of the goals we aspire to, the ensuing  journey  and the value of the climb to the summit.

Legendary percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo was born in Puerto Rico in 1963 and grew up in home filled with the drums, bongos, congas and timbales used by his father and grandfather, both musicians themselves.

Hidalgo began playing on a home made conga crafted by his father from a wooden barrel, when he was just eight years old. He also practiced on other percussion instruments, applying his great talent to become one of the top Latin percussionists in the world today. The sounds other drummers create with sticks, Hidalgo creates with his hands. His lightning-fast precision is particularly admired by others

Hidalgo first became popular outside his native Puerto Rico in the early 1980′s. In 1981 he went to Cuba to work with Batacumbele. There he met Changuito and Hidalgo’s career took a different turn. The two artists were perfectly attuned to each and this was evident in Batacumbele’s debut album. That effort, featuring Hidalgo’s incredible hand drumming technique, gave him instant prominence among musicians around the world.

As much as Hidalgo drew inspiration from the Cuban musicians he performed with, they too took something away from the experience. Many tried to replicate Hidalgo’s technique, and incorporated it into their style of music called songo. This effect was mirrored in Puerto Rico as the Cuban style music was a smashing success.

But the rapport and life-long friendship with Changuito was a precursor to a similar relationship that Hidalgo forged with American jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, just a few years later. Hidalgo met Gillespie while performing with Eddie Palmieri in New York. Gillespie liked what he heard from Hidalgo and suggested a future collaboration. The future came in 1988 when Gillespie recruited Hidalgo to play with him in the United Nations Jazz Orchestra.

In 1992 Hidalgo accepted a teaching position at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He remained there for four years of which Hidalgo said, “I was teaching and learning at the same time,” he says. “I put together all types of rhythms—Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, reggae, African, and jazz”, with songs like Bahia San Juan from his Villa Hidalgo album.
Source: musicofpuertorico.com

May 27, 1963… Gonzalo Julio Gonzalez Fonseca was born in post-revolutionary Havana into a musical family rich in the traditions of the country’s artistic past. During his childhood, in addition to the standard fare of elementary schools, Gonzalo absorbed the Cuban musical heritage of his nascent environment through personal contacts within his family, notably his father, pianist Guillermo Rubalcaba and his two brothers (pianistand bassist) as well as from leading musicians who were frequent houseguests: Frank Emilio, Peruchin, Felipe Dulzaides and others. He also assimilated, through scarce and treasured recordings, the tunes and styles of 40′s – 70′s US jazz masters: Thelonius Monk,Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson among pianists; and instrumentalists Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey. Gonzalo loved drumming and early in his career studied both piano and drums. Despite the diversity of his background, Gonzalo’s initial formal musical training was entirely classical. He began his training at Manuel Saumell Conservatory at age 9, where he finally chose the piano as his main instrument. He moved up to middle-school at Amadeo RoldanConservatory and finally earned his degree in music composition from Havana’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1983.
By that time he was already playing in clubs and music halls in Havana. He toured France and Africa with Orquesta Aragon in 1980 and introduced his ownGrupo Projecto to the North Sea and Berlin Festivals in 1985. Egrem Studios of Havana was the first to record his music during the early and mid ’80′s and these discs, Inicio, an album of piano solos andConcierto Negro, are still available. Beginning in 1986 Gonzalo began recording for Messidor of Frankfurt, Germany and put out three highly acclaimed albums for that label with his Cuban Quartet entitled Mi Gran Pasion,Live in Havana, and Giraldilla. On the strength of these works Gonzalo began attracting international attention and in 1986 a chance meeting in Havana with bassist Charlie Haden brought him to the attention of Blue Note Records‘ president, Bruce Lundvall, and thus began an association first withToshiba/EMI of Japan and later with Blue Note in the US which resulted in 14 discs being released. (See the Discography page for a complete listing.) In July 1990, he appeared as a surprise guest in an historic performance, available on the CD Discovery with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian (ex Bill Evans trio members) at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland.

Further works eventually brought Gonzalo both a Latin Grammy for Jazz Album of the Year, Supernova, as well as a Grammy for co-production with Charlie Haden on Nocturne, a Verve release of Cuban and Mexican boleros and ballads. Gonzalo has to his credit 15 Grammy nominations, including five for Jazz Album of the Year, Rapsodia in 1995, Antiguoand Inner Voyage in 1999, Supernova in 2002, Avatar in 2008. Among recent honors, in June 2001 Gonzalo received the SFJAZZ Leaders Circle Laureate Award and in 2002 he performed as Artist-in-Residence at the Montreal Jazz Festival together with Chucho Valdez. Gonzalo has performed with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Ignacio Berroa, Chick Corea, Al DiMeola, Herbie Hancock,Charlie Haden, Katia Labeque, Richard Galliano, Francisco Cepsedes, Tony Martinez, Issac Delgado, Juan Luis Guerra, Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Eric Harland, Dennis Chambers, Brian Bromberg, Ron Carter,Yosvany Terry,Matt Brewer, Mike Rodriguez, Marcus Gilmore, Pat Martino, Giovanni Hidalgo,John Patitucci, Jack DeJohnette, Joao Bosco, Eric Harland , Ivan Linz and many others.

Gonzalo continues to tour the world as a solo pianist in jazz and classical settings as well as band leader, employing the worlds top side men in club and concert engagements. His active repertoire has continued to expand beyond straight-ahead, bop, Afro-Cuban and other forms of jazz into the worlds of traditional Cuban and Mexican ballads, boleros and Cuban classical works. He has developed his own very distinctive voice, challenging the traditional musical classifications of the day.

His art continues to evolve and draw inspiration from both his Afro-Cuban heritage and the world around us. Our Maestro will continue shaping and reshaping the themes, forms and rhythms which have provided him with inspiration for his life’s work. In whichever idiom he works, his future musical creations will be melodious, rhythmic, exciting and bear in their intriguing intricacies the artist’s inherent intention of transforming the daily routines of our lives into something more beautiful and significant.

Gonzalo now produces and records for his own record label and production company, 5Passion LLC, founded in 2010.

The first offering is entitled ‘Fé” (Faith), a solo piano offering that is an exquisite foray into the depths of color and emotion that reward the listener with every spin. In 2011, Gonzalo released “XXI Centrury” , a double CD featuring music from various periods and genres, and features the likes of Ignacio Berroa, Matt Brewer, Marcus Gilmore, Lionel Leouke , Pedro Martinez and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Gonzalo is currently working on his next offering, to be released in 2014. In addition, his 5Passion label plans to release several discs from Yosvany Terry, Ignacio Berroa, Jose Armando Gola and Alex Sipiagin, all of whom are considered some of the best musicians on the planet.

Drummer, composer, arranger and producer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez has been a driving force behind some of the most popular and influential Latin and Latin-fused music of the past two decades. Since leaving Cuba in 1990 his drumming has propelled the efforts of Grammy Award winners Michel Camilo, Roy Hargrove, Chucho Valdes, Gary Burton, Alejandro Sanz and Carlos Santana, as well as Paquito D’Rivera and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Hernandez is identified by his unique “Latin Fusion” style, melding the folkloric clave with the fierce punch, crisp snap and deep grooves of today’s Jazz, Pop, and Rock.

Hernandez first gained international recognition as drummer for the legendary pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and his band, Proyecto. Once in the US, Hernandez – known internationally simply as “El Negro” – began contributing to some of the most extraordinary performances of the era, both live and in studio releases. Carlos Santana’s Supernatural (1999), a nine Grammy Award winner; Alejandro Sanz’ No Es Lo Mismo (2003), winner of four Grammy awards; Eddie Palmieri’s Listen Here! (2005); Gary Burton’s For Hamp, Red, Bags, and Cal (2001) all bear the stamp of El Negro’s percussion artistry. His own awards include a shared Grammy with Crisol, Roy Hargrove’s band on Habana (1997), as well as a Grammy for the 2003 Live at the Blue Note, with Michel Camilo on piano and Charles Flores on bass.

Negro’s impact extends beyond the stage and the studio. He holds an honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, joining the ranks of Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, William “Count” Basie, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and other legends. A highly esteemed percussion educator, Negro also serves as a member of the faculties of Berklee and the New School and Drummer’s Collective in New York. Then, his critically-acclaimed book and CD, Conversations in Clave: The Ultimate Technical Study of Four-Way Independence in Afro-Cuban Rhythms (2000), has become an industry standard.

Since 2004, in addition to his many other projects, Negro records and tours with Italuba—also the title of the group’s debut CD release, and Italuba’s second release Italuba II in 2007—his collaborative quartet. “We are at a point where we are letting the music play us, instead of us playing the music,” he says of the ease with which the players relate and blend in a sophisticated compositional and improvisational musical dialogue. In 2011 Negro headlined at the Modern Drummer Festival for Modern Drummer Magazine with his new project band of World Music all-stars, The New World Order. The concert was subsequently released on the Modern Drummer Festival 2011 DVD. What will emerge next from the innovative El Negro is certain to continue to astonish, as it continues to reveal his dedication to the Cuban music that first fueled his brilliant and unique contribution to the world of contemporary music.

Havana native Jose Armando Gola has played bass since the age of thirteen. He attended the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory in Cuba. He plays both upright and electric bass in various settings and has toured internationally, having played at most of the important  jazz festivals of the world. Only in his mid-20s, he has worked with Gonzalo Rubalcaba for the past seven years.

Gola has appeared on two GRAMMY® Award Winning albums :  ”RUMBA PALACE” (Arturo Sandoval), and ”El Tren De Los Momentos” (Alejandro Sanz). Gola has also appeared on three GRAMMY® nominated  albums : “PASEO” (Gonzalo Rubalcaba) , “CODES” (Ignacio Berroa)  and  ”TE ACUERDAS” (FRANCISCO CESPEDES).

He has recorded with artist’s like Alejandro Sanz, Jenifer Lopez, Thalia, Francisco Cespedes, Luis Enrique and many others. His first album as leader is entitled “Gola Live Things”, which features great musicians the likes of  Tony Perez, Felipe Lamoglia, Mike Rodriguez, Rafael Solano, Ludwig Afonso, Philbert Armenteros,William Paredes . Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Ignacio Berroa appear as a special guests.

Jose Armando Gola has toured with Eldar Djangirov in support of Djangirov’s album, “VIRTUE” and is currently touring the world as Bassist for the supergroup Volcan.