Pedrito Martinez and Gonzalo Rubalcaba team up for a duo performance that promises to be an explosive journey into the thrumming heart of Cuban rhythm.
Called “a pianist of almost supernatural abilities” by The New York Times, Gonzalo Rubalcaba is the most celebrated Cuban musician of his generation, a virtuoso of jaw-dropping technical command whose improvisational prowess helped pave the way for the brilliant wave of Latin American jazz musicians that followed in his wake. One of them was Cuban conguero Pedrito Martinez, who’s played an essential role infusing Afro-Cuban currents into American music since settling in New York City in 1998, recording and performing with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Sting.
The 21st century rumba king became a sensation himself in 2008 with a quartet rooted in the percussion-driven Afro-Cuban rumba tradition, sacred batá rhythms, and Yoruba chants of Santería. The Pedrito Martinez Group has performed at the SFJazz Center several times, but most recently he helped elevate SFJazz’s unprecedented 2016 Cuban Piano series as a special guest each night.