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Roberto Fonseca

North America

Pianist, composer, and Artistic Director for Cuba’s Jazz Plaza Santiago Festival, Roberto Fonseca has toured the world’s most prestigious venues with Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club® and the legendary Omara Portuondo. As a bandleader, Fonseca is undoubtedly one of the most innovative Cuban pianists in generations, with a sound at the fertile crossroads of jazz, traditional music, and soul, steeped in a spirituality faithful to his Afro-Cuban roots. Fonseca’s November 2016 release ABUC (Verve/Universal) is dedicated to the island he calls home — it spells CUBA backwards, after all. Teeming with rascally rhythms and burly brass, and woven from allusions, souvenirs and contrasts, ABUC is a kaleidoscope of dancing colors through which Roberto tells the great and rich story of Cuban music, from yesterday to today. The album incorporates elements of the island’s traditions such as contradanza, mambo, cha-cha-cha, danzon, and bolero, infused with the spirit of the descarga jam and hip-hop. Featured on a number of PBS programs in 2017-2018, including “Weekend In Havana,” a series about a changing city with amazing artistic traditions, Roberto serves as a representative and guide to the country’s musical culture. As BBC says, “By matching tradition with experiment, Fonseca has become one of the most exciting musicians in the new Cuban scene.”