Ernán López-Nussa
Thursday, 14 August 2008 @ 5.30 pm • Christ Church Cathedral

Reviewer Ed Farolan

What a fabulous show! The audience were on their feet for a standing ovation at the end of this early evening performance by this remarkable Cuban jazz pianist whose style synthesizes Cuban and Afrocuban musical traditions with European classics.

The first part of the repertoire were compositions of his own. His opening number, Volver a Cuba, was a soft and melancholic number, but his next pieces, Momo and Puesto y convidado, started off with happy, clownish, almost classic tunes reminiscent of Tchaikowsky's Nutcracker Suite, and ended in something that sounded like Brubeck's Take Five. Puesto y convidado was a jazzy version of Charleston and Foxtrot, and I saw some audience members tippy-tapping to this dancing music.

I got the impression of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his rendition of the next number, Bebiendo del sol, which started off like soft jazz, and as the title implies, "taking in the sun". But then, a metamorphosis occurs, and the music evolves into an impatient, passionate rhythm, as though getting drunk from taking in too much of the sun's heat.

The second half started off with that classic jazz number, Ellington's Sophisticated Lady, and I heard myself humming the tune with this piece, one of my favorites. An original composition, a light and frivolous Viña del señor, came next, followed by I. Cervantes´s Amistad, a piece that begins lke a classic pas de deux and transforms itself into modern jazz ballet.

His last piece, Figuracione, another original composition, started off sounding like sea waves, as he played magic with his fingers, and then, the rhythm evolved into Afrocuban salsa. This was the best piece, and I bow to the mastery of this fantastic pianist who was warmly received by the Cathedral audience.

By the way, funny thing happened on my way to the cathedral. I had one of those senior moments. I forgot my tickets at home! So I went over to the media desk and a volunteer, Leanne, was kind enough to believe me and give me fresh tickets. And adding flavour to favour, she even reserved two seats for me at the front row! Thanks, Leanne, and I hope we have more people like you in this world.

© 2008 Ed Farolan