Harold López-Nussa: Un Día Cualquiera

Harold López-Nussa - Un Día Cualquiera

Harold López-Nussa is a dynasty not only in Cuba, and ever since Ninety Miles (Concord, 2011), a recording that was facilitated by vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Christian Scott and tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, it is also a household name wherever aficionados come together to listen to great music. Many who listened to that music and watched its viral video on YouTube were struck by the pianist and his drummer brother that gave the music its signature sound just as a certain, celebrated Habana (Verve, 1998) album by Roy Hargrove’s Crisol suddenly reawakened the Jazz world up to Cuban musicians such as Chucho Valdés and Miguel “Angá” Díaz among others and, of course the recordings of Jane Bunnett had done likewise for many more Cuban musicians, such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Harold López-Nussa: Un Día Cualquiera

But there was – and continues to be – something magnetic about that Ninety Miles album; an urgency to dig deeper, into the music and musicians who played on it and if you did then you would not be alone if you were not mesmerised by the musicianship of the young pianist Harold López-Nussa and his brother Rui Adrián López-Nussa. His father Ruy Francisco López-Nussa, and his uncle Ernán Lopez-Nussa are musicians. His late mother, Mayra Torres, was a renowned piano teacher in her lifetime. But it is the younger siblings Harold López-Nussa and Rui Adrián López-Nussa who have made the family a household name outside Cuba, starting in France, where they have lived and recorded for a time.

It is impossible not to be riveted by the music of Harold López-Nussa and drum-playing brother Rui Adrián López-Nussa. The pianist, by his own admission, has suggested that the drummer is something of the other half of his heartbeat and, indeed, their music – this music of Un Día Cualquiera – confirms, as does the music of the several other recordings before it. Few other pianist-drummer duos have displayed such an ability to match melody to rhythm and music to poetry as if one was created expressly to glorify the other. As the music here has been distilled into a trio performance the hypnotic relationship between the two musicians appears even more heightened and reaches even more astonishing depths with Harold López-Nussa often leaning on the sustained pedal of the concert grand he plays often for longer moments in time during his melodic explorations. Then there is the characteristic manner in which his thundering left-hand chords draws in Rui Adrián López-Nussa; and the drummer responds with bright splashes on the cymbals and rumbling ton-ton tom and timpani.

The album is, almost tauntingly, entitled Un Día Cualquiera but the music is hardly the work of a trio playing on “any given day”. Here are three musicians –a trio that also includes another young virtuoso contrabassist, Gaston Joya – who complete each other’s statements and musical sentences. From the explosive effervescence of “Cimarrón” to the graceful danzón pirouetting movements of “Una Tarde Cualquiera En París”, and the equally balletic swirling of “Ma petite dans la Boulangerie” and “Y la Negra Bailaba” each of the pieces is a ripe creation stuffed with long melodies of effortless lyricism; perfectly balanced compositions from end to end. And every player is accorded an equal bit of these exquisite confections. Each unfolds like an immensely attractive journey of musical discovery, with rippling pianism, and riotously coloured harmony and rhythmic palettes – executed with delicate and dazzling flourish depending on the melodic requirement. Un Día Cualquiera unfolds in a winning account full of wit and sparkle as Harold López-Nussa, Gaston Joya and Rui Adrián López-Nussa once again sparkle with an amazing rapport between each other which yields predictably brilliant results.

Track list – 1: Cimarrón; 2: Danza de los Ñáñigos; 3: Una Tarde Cualquiera En París (to Bebo Valdés); 4: Preludio (to José Juan); 5: Eleguá; 6: Hialeah; 7: Ma petite dans la Boulangerie; 8: Y la Negra Bailaba; 9: Conga Total/El Cumbanchero; 10: Contigo en la Distancia; 11: Mi Son Cerra’o

Personnel – Harold López-Nussa: piano; Gaston Joya: bass; Rui Adrián López-Nussa: drums and percussion

Released – 2018
Label – Mack Avenue Records
Runtime – 48:23

Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

El Gran Fellové: Part 1- The Beginning

Francisco Fellové Valdés (October 7, 1923 – February 15, 2013), also known as El Gran Fellové (The Great Fellove), was a Cuban songwriter and...

Bobby Paunetto, New York City and The Synthesis of Music

Bobby Paunetto was an unforgettable composer, arranger, musician and recording artist. Latin Jazz Network honors him on the tenth anniversary of his death (8.10.10). His...

Jazz Plaza 2020: Ancient to the Future

Chapter four of our series: 35th Jazz Plaza International Festival in Havana In recent months I found myself in profound reflection of the term...

Ray Martinez and the Forgotten Legacy of Jazz

Sometime in the very near future, several of the jazz world's best known writers and musicologists will meet in some obscure conclave to pool...

A Brief History of the Cuban Style Conjunto

1930: The Orquesta Típica is out and the Conjunto is in The year 1930 marked a turning point in the development of popular Cuban music....

Jazz Plaza 2020: Speaking in Tongues

Chapter three of our series: 35th Jazz Plaza International Festival in Havana Featured photo: Los Muñequitos de Matanzas at El Tablao in Havana, by Danilo...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more