Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio | SPACE | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio

Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio

When: Mon., Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $15-$25
Pianist Harold López-Nussa is among the latest products of Cuba’s state-run music-education system to land in America, touring in support of his latest album, New Day (Jazz Village). He’s clearly influenced by Irakere founder Chucho Valdés, and like Valdés he sometimes lets his dizzying technique muddy his ideas. His previous recordings mostly cleaved to Latin-jazz convention, but here he pushes toward fusion, unleashing quicksilver phrases in perfect registration with his jacked-up rhythm section—percussionist Ruy Adrián López-Nussa (the pianist’s brother) and bassist Gastón Joya. The piano-cajon duet “Cimarrón” displays an undeniable rapport and energy, as does the full-band number “Fantasmas en Caravana,” whose biting, introspective Fender Rhodes solo builds in intensity and focus as the rhythm section ramps up from amorphous and drifty to razor sharp and piledriver intense. Unfortunately, some tracks opt for glib excess—the saccharine title track is gospel-jazz fizz, and “Buenos Modales” gooses its outsize funk with full-bore trumpet from Mayquel González. Here’s hoping López-Nussa eases back on the throttle in this intimate venue. Tonight Jorge Sabo subs for Joya. —Peter Margasak
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