Post image for The Harold Lopéz-Nussa Trio Revisits Irakere With Bacalao Con Pan

The Harold Lopéz-Nussa Trio Revisits Irakere With Bacalao Con Pan

by chipboaz on January 4, 2017

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Influence in music is a funny thing that can either dominate a musician’s performance or set it free. Every musician has been influenced by someone; that’s an essential part of the learning process. Musicians imitate, interpret, and analyze the music of their mentors, following the lead of masters. Once these musicians have reached a level of professional proficiency, then they need to make the call about how that influence continues in their music. If they step away from influence completely, they loose an essential connection to tradition that keeps them within a lineage. If they hold onto it too closely, they never take any risks, and consequently, they never develop their own voice as an artist. It’s a delicate line that musicians walk when juggling their influence with their personal choices.

Today’s video features Cuban pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa paying tribute to Chucho Valdés and Irakere with a performance of “Bacalao Con Pan.” This is an iconic piece of the Irakere repertoire, which was originally performed as a dance number; in that context, it was a huge hit for Irakere, both on the island and beyond. Lopéz-Nussa recontextualizes the song here, turning it into a stunning vehicle for improvisation. It’s interesting to see Lopéz-Nussa, along with bassist Julio Cesar Gonzalez and drummer Ruy Lopéz-Nussa interpret this piece from the perspective of a younger generation – these musicians obviously grew up listening to Irakere and know the music intimately. Lopéz-Nussa certainly shares a lot with Valdés – a background in classical training, a deep love for jazz improvisation, and a history in Cuban music. You can hear that come through in the video, but it’s certainly not the end of the story. The trio re-contextualizes “Bacalao Con Pan” as a standard piece of Latin Jazz repertoire that explodes with energy and passion. It’s a tribute to an influential group, but it’s also a personal statement of the modern state of these musicians.

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Check out recent Latin Jazz videos:
Alberto Nacif & Aguankó Performing La Bicicleta
Manuel Valera And The New Cuban Express Performing Live
Antonio Carlos Jobim & Herbie Hancock Performing Wave
Oscar Hernandez Quintet Performs Timeshift
Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, & Sal Cuevas Playing Picadillo

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