Cuban Pianist Rafael Zaldivar’s Latin Jazz Trio
Saturday, July 1 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm$20 – $30
When JUNO Nominee Cuban pianist and composer Rafael Zaldivar sits down at the piano, he brings a wealth of inspiration to the keys. His compositions display his percussion expertise, his many years of collaborating with top jazz musicians, and his cultural heritage.
Born in Camagüey, Cuba, Zaldivar is carrying on a rich family legacy of musicianship. After taking up percussion and piano at a young age, Zaldivar pursued his studies at the Higher Institute of Arts in Havana. Once Zaldivar came to Canada at the age of 22, he completed a B.A. at the Université de Montréal and an M.A. and a D.Mus. from McGill University. From then on, his musical career has flourished, bringing him opportunities to work with such excellent musicians as Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, and Herbie Hancock.
In recent years, Zaldivar has participated in many international jazz festivals, including the Jazz Festival, Rochester (New York), the Jazz Festival of Querétaro (Mexico), the Festival Jazz North Sea (Holland), among others. Zaldivar had the honor of being personally invited to Boston’s Bean Town Jazz Festival by jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington (multiple GRAMMY Award Winner) and had the chance to share the stage with this renowned artist. Zaldivar has also played with Roy Hargrove, Steve Coleman, Nate Smith, Ben Wendel, Ari Hoenig, Dan Weiss, Nir Felder, and Greg Osby; and he has recorded with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Miguel Zenón, and Ingrid Jensen. In the fall of 2021, Zaldivar was invited by the Berklee Music College to be a Visiting Artist; there he gave two workshops on Afro-Cuban rhythmic Integration in Contemporary Jazz Composition and Improvisation. Recently, Zaldivar received the Second Award from the International Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. Zaldivar’s skills as an artistic director, pianist, and composer have enabled him to build and solidify his career both on the Canadian jazz scene and internationally.
Amhed Mitchel, Cuba (drums). His signature is based on his Afro-Cuban roots, music that came back from Africa and is still evolving today. Ahmed integrates his knowledge into his music style to draw a wide range of rhythms. One of the best moments of Mitchel’s musical career was when he was picked from a group of musicians to perform at the closing date of the Tokyo Jazz Festival 2004. He performed as part of the “Super Unit” orchestra with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Leonel Lueke and Dave Holland. Ahmed also performed in the Grammy Award Nominated CD featuring bass player Carlos Del Puerto.
Roberto Occhipinti is a bassist, composer, producer born in Toronto from a musical family that includes guitarists Michael (his younger brother) and David (a cousin). One of a small number of musicians who have had successful careers in both classical music and jazz, in 1997 Occhipinti began working with Cuban expatriate jazz pianist Hilario Durán, recording Killer Tumbao (1997), Habana Nocturna (1999), Havana Remembered (2001), New Danzon (2004) and From The Heart (2006). These recordings brought him into contact with saxophonist Jane Bunette. He toured with her and appeared on three of her recordings: Ritmo and Soul (2000), Alma de Santiago (2001) and Cuban Odyssey (2003). He also performed with his brother’s band, NOJO; the Toronto-based sextet, Soul Stew; Gorillaz; and Damon Albarn’s Mali Music. His jazz quintet toured extensively in 2006.
Roberto Occhipinti’s own recording career began in 2001 with Trinacria, featuring a nonet of Canadian and Cuban musicians performing compositions by Occhipinti, Durán (who performed on piano), Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk. The Cusp (2003) featured a 13-piece ensemble and mixed original compositions with his arrangements of songs by Wayne Shorter, Jimi Hendrix and Giacomo Puccini. Yemaya (2006) was even more ambitious, featuring 22 jazz musicians, a string quartet and the Globalis Symphony Orchestra.
In 2001, as part of Bunnett’s Spirits of Havana, Occhipinti shared in a Juno award for best global album. In 2005 he received a Juno as producer of Durán’s New Danzon. He won National Jazz Awards for producer of the year in 2005 and 2006, and acoustic group of the year in 2005. In 2006 he received a SOCAN award for a cartoon series, George Shrinks.