TXT / PHOTO: RÓMULO SANS
With no toys from ‘abroad’, at the age of 4 this native of Holguín could play ‘los paticos’ by ear. “I always flunked music exams: I would get nervous and end up improvising. And since popular rhythms were not allowed, I would do it with Bach.”
“My first prize was two pounds of cheese and guava jelly. I went home happy and dug in. I was 12 years old.”
He tried percussion and judo! But he would get to the classroom so muscle-bound that he had to choose. And the keyboard won over the tatami.
“Every oriental –he reveals without qualms– dreams about coming to Havana. That’s why I did the ISA exams.”
The golden left-handed pianist admits that: “I was always better at reading the fa key, and I played almost all my studies for the left in high school… now I’ve got it going on.”
His group Oriental Quartet recently recorded its first album: Trapiche. He has shared the stage with great musicians such as Chucho Valdés, who assures that he is already more than a promise of Cuban jazz.
+ information pág. 22-23 The H Book 2008 09