Fabian Almazan. i
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com
Fabian Almazan.
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Fabian Almazan: Live At The Village Vanguard

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/141085472/141320146" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The 27-year-old pianist Fabian Almazan has just released his debut album, Personalities, and it's aptly titled. It features Almazan as a composer who can write and arrange for films, for string quartet, for piano trio. It features Almazan as a Cuban-American musician who demonstrates intuitive control over Latin jazz repertoire and feeling. And it features Almazan as a modern jazz musician who can play with that flexible, go-anywhere feeling so sought-after these days.

He's celebrating his multiple Personalities with a week as a bandleader at New York's cramped subterranean jazz mecca, the Village Vanguard. And for one night only, he brought along the same string quartet which appeared on his album. WBGO and NPR Music recorded a live radio broadcast and video webcast of the Fabian Almazan Trio with string quartet on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Almazan also presented a special pre-concert interview, where he discussed his composing.

Personalities features two tracks in which his trio performs with string quartet, and those can be heard here, on NPR's A Blog Supreme. One, the title track, won him a jazz composition prize; the other is an arrangement of a movement from a Shostakovich string quartet, with electronic processing. (He played both back-to-back on stage: "I'm at the Village Vanguard, and we're playing a Shostakovich string quartet," he said, chuckling.) The rest of the album finds him joined exclusively by his classmates at the Manhattan School of Music, both busy freelancers. Bassist Linda Oh self-released a debut album in 2009 to critical acclaim; drummer Henry Cole, born in Puerto Rico, can command both Afro-Caribbean and mainland swing feeling.

Almazan was born in Cuba, raised in Miami, and now lives in New York. In that time, he became the pianist in Terence Blanchard's quintet, affording him one of the few high-level, globe-trekking apprenticeships remaining in jazz. But he's stayed busy apart from Blanchard; like his mentor, he's developed a strong interest in film scoring, even studying last summer at the Sundance Film Composers Lab.

Personalities will be available on CD Nov. 18, but came out digitally on Oct. 11. So this concert broadcast, and the week-long residency around it, will mark two debuts: the release of Almazan's first album and the first time he will lead a band at the Village Vanguard.

Set List
  • "Hacia El Aire"
  • "Bola De Nieve" (Varela)
  • "The Vicarious Life"
  • "Grandmother Song"
  • "H.U.Gs (Historically Underrepresented Groups)"
  • String Quartet No. 10, 3rd Movement (Shostakovich)
  • "Personalities"
Personnel
  • Fabian Almazan, piano
  • Linda Oh, bass
  • Henry Cole, drums
  • Meg Okura, violin
  • Megan Gould, violin
  • Karen Waltuch, viola
  • Noah Hoffeld, cello
Credits
  • Josh Jackson, producer and host
  • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
  • Michael Downes, assistant
  • Lara Pellegrinelli, moderator
  • Tim Wilkins, moderator
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Jacky Terrasson. Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

Back in 1995, the young pianist demonstrated extraordinary talent on standards.

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487065269/487071612" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Aaron Parks. Bill Douthart/Courtesy of ECM Records hide caption

toggle caption Bill Douthart/Courtesy of ECM Records

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Aaron Parks On Piano Jazz

The prolific pianist was still in his teens when he joined Marian McPartland for this 2001 session.

Aaron Parks In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/485228786/485229737" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Randy Weston. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Jazz Night In America

Randy Weston At 90

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The eminent pianist was the guest of honor at this year's Panama Jazz Festival.

Randy Weston At 90

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484419476/484422409" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Ray Charles and Marian McPartland. Courtesy of Vanguard hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Vanguard

Jazz Night In America

The Ray Charles Songbook

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Trumpeter Kenny Rampton launched his career with the great performer. He presents that music live.

The Ray Charles Songbook

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484407414/484419129" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Valerie Capers. David Katzenstein/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption David Katzenstein/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Valerie Capers On Piano Jazz

The pianist and educator shows off her classical chops in a solo during "It Could Happen To You."

Valerie Capers In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484230476/484313442" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Monty Alexander. Crush Boone/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Crush Boone/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Monty Alexander On Piano Jazz

The Jamaican-born pianist, known for his rhythmic approach, joined Marian McPartland in 1991.

Monty Alexander In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/482469803/482492744" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Brandee Younger and Edmar Castañeda. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artists

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Return Of The Jazz Harp

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Brandee Younger and Edmar Castañeda are bringing the ancient instrument back to the music.

Return Of The Jazz Harp

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/482494560/482495987" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Alan Clare. Allan Warren/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption Allan Warren/Wikimedia Commons

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Alan Clare On Piano Jazz

In 1990, the British pianist joined host Marian McPartland from the BBC's London studios.

Alan Clare On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/480295874/480633264" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dena DeRose. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Dena DeRose On Piano Jazz

In a 2001 session, the singer and pianist joined host Marian McPartland for a program of standards.

Dena DeRose On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/479740933/479741803" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top