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Cuban Piano 101: A Century Of Historic Grooves

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Cuban Piano 101: A Century Of Historic Grooves

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Cuban Piano 101: A Century Of Historic Grooves

Cuban Piano 101: A Century Of Historic Grooves

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/496753719/496799879" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Harold López-Nussa is part of a rich legacy of Cuban pianists. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Harold López-Nussa is part of a rich legacy of Cuban pianists.

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The first thing I think of when I consider Cuban music is the piano. I've spent most of my adult life playing Afro-Cuban percussion, so you'd think I would hear things differently.

Hear More Cuban Pianists

But actually, the piano is technically a percussion instrument in the grand scheme of European symphonic music. Nowhere is that truer than in Cuba, which has a rich legacy of interpreting Africa through the keyboard.

But don't take my word for it. This week, we're joined by pianist, composer and educator Rebeca Mauleón, who serves as Director of Education at SF Jazz. She's been studying and playing Cuban music for about as long as I've known her, and we go back a long time.

Mauleón recently put together a playlist of essential Cuban pianists for a lecture she did at SF Jazz, and she's been kind enough to share that list with us and discuss some of the pianists who've helped shape Cuban music. There are history lessons, sure, but also deep grooves to appreciate on this week's show.

Read Rebeca Mauleón's "Pianísimo: Cuban Piano Titans Across The Ages" at SFJazz.org.

Hear The Songs

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Bebo Valdés

  • Song: Tú, habanera for piano
  • from Bebo [Sony]
YouTube

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Song
Bebo [Sony]
Album
Bebo [Sony]
Artist
Bebo Valdés
Label
Union Music Group
Released
2006

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Ernesto Lecuona

  • Song: Comparsa
  • from Lecuona Toca Lecuona, Vol. 1
YouTube

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Song
Lecuona Toca Lecuona, Vol. 1
Album
Lecuona Toca Lecuona, Vol. 1
Artist
Ernesto Lecuona
Label
Egrem
Released
2002

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Pedro "Peruchín" Justiz

  • Song: Mulata Rumbera
  • from Marques del Marfil
YouTube

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Song
Marques del Marfil
Album
Marques del Marfil
Artist
Peruchin
Label
Tumbao
Released
2005

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Chucho Valdés

  • Song: Mambo Influenciado
  • from Lucumi
YouTube

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Song
Lucumi
Album
Lucumi
Artist
Chucho Valdes
Label
Messidor

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Gonzalo Rubalcaba

  • Song: Mi Gran Pasion
  • from Mi Gran Pasion
YouTube

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Song
Mi Gran Pasion
Album
Mi Gran Pasion
Artist
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Label
Messidor
Released
1987

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Harold López-Nussa

  • Song: Pa' Gozar
  • from Pais de Las Maravillas
YouTube

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Song
Pais de Las Maravillas
Album
Pais de Las Maravillas
Artist
Harold Lopez-Nussa
Label
World Village
Released
2011

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Alfredo Rodriguez

  • Song: Guantanamera
  • from The Invasion Parade
YouTube

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Song
The Invasion Parade
Album
The Invasion Parade
Artist
Alfredo Rodriguez
Label
Mack Avenue
Released
2014

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