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Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Hamilton de Holanda To Release New Album: “Collab”

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Hamilton de Holanda & Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Hamilton de Holanda & Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Photo: album cover

Sony Music Brazil is thrilled to unveil a remarkable musical convergence of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz on Collab, personified by two of its greatest exponents: the renowned Afro-Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, named one of the great pianists of the 20th century (Piano & Keyboard Magazine) and known for his impeccable technique and rhythmic innovation, and the virtuoso Brazilian mandolinist Hamilton de Holanda, whose skill and creativity has revolutionized the instrument and Brazilian music. Equal parts challenging and accessible, Collab is a musical journey through varied soundscapes, with each track offering a new discovery rooted in their common African ancestry. Collab will release internationally on May 31, and in the United States on July 19, 2024. 

Gonzalo Rubalcaba, deeply rooted in the jazz tradition, brings with him a wealth of influences when approaching Afro-Cuban rhythms, from the pulsating energy of the batá drums (drums of African origin, from the Yoruba culture, used both in music and in Santeria) to the complex harmonies of contemporary jazz. His piano interpretation is marked by captivating fluidity and enveloping emotional intensity, combining impeccable technique with a visceral expressiveness that resonates with listeners. On the other hand, Hamilton de Holanda is a true master of the Brazilian mandolin, elevating this instrument to new heights of virtuosity and innovation, inspiring a new generation of instrumentalists. His music is saturated with the vibrant colors and rhythms of Brazil, infusing jazz with elements ranging from traditional choro to influences of samba and bossa nova, and beyond. Hamilton is recognized for his extraordinary improvisational ability, as well as his capacity to extract a surprising range of sounds from his 10-string mandolin, thus creating a truly unique musical experience. 

Hamilton de Holanda & Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Collab [album cover]
Hamilton de Holanda & Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Collab [album cover]

“For many years, I’ve been listening to Gonzalo Rubalcaba. He’s one of those musicians whose sound you recognize immediately. I’ve always had the desire to play with him because I felt that he was doing things that resonated with my vision of music, especially with his national accent and international outlook,” Holanda reflected.

“Hamilton is a Maestro. I am sure that on many occasions the adjective “virtuoso” has been used to refer to him, and yes he is. But he is not only a virtuoso in terms of mastery of the instrument with which he transmits the music,” Rubalcaba shared. “He is a virtuoso of thought, a virtuoso of ideas, he is a virtuoso in many facets that go far beyond just controlling this instrument which, by the way, once again, he does, perhaps like few others do around the world.”

Earlier this year, the duo met at the legendary Criteria Studio in Miami and created the amazing Collab. The fusion of Rubalcaba‘s Afro-Cuban jazz with Holanda’s Brazilian influences creates a unique synergy. The result is music that is both rooted in tradition and innovative in its approach, a celebration of the richness and diversity of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian musical traditions. Brazilian star special guests composer and singer João Bosco, as well as harmonica player Gabriel Grossi, add additional layers of depth and meaning to the tracks, providing an even richer and more engaging auditory experience.

Rubalcaba contributed three original compositions, including the challenging “Blues Landvall,the lyrical “Yolanda Anas,” and the emotiveTransparence.” Holanda offers his own trio of originals, including the Choro-inspired “Mandalagh,” composed for the duo, the high-flying “Flying Chicken,” and “Choro Fado,” which had its first recording on Holanda’s Latin Grammy-winning 2023 album “Maxixe Samba Groove” In addition to these originals, the album features reinterpretations of gems from the Brazilian repertoire (“Incompatibilidade de Gênios” by João Bosco and Aldir Blanc, presented in two versions—one instrumental and one sung), classic soul music (“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder), jazz (“Silence” by bassist Charlie Haden), and Portuguese pop (“Saudade, Saudade” by Maro & John Blanda).

“Incompatibilidade de Gênios” explores the complexities of human relationships and the dynamics between divergent personalities. João Bosco‘s interpretation, with his distinctive and expressive voice, brings new flavors to the music. On “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” the participation of the creative harmonica player Gabriel Grossi is a tribute to one of the greatest musicians of all time, the great Stevie Wonder.

“I am happy with the result of all the work that goes into making the album, and with the work that has had to do directly with this album that I consider as a work of chamber music. I am even more excited because we have created a platform that allows us to share with a wide and diverse audience. We have created a project that is our banner of invitation to listeners from different parts of the world,” Rubalcaba shared. 

Essential in today’s world, Collab is an example of true cultural diplomacy. This meeting of cultural heritages promotes mutual understanding and cooperation in a global context, and reinforces jazz’s position as a truly universal musical genre. Afro-Latin Jazz and Brazilian Jazz are vital tributaries of jazz for the continuous evolution of the music as a truly global and multicultural art form. The genres have been fundamental to expanding the reach of jazz, introducing new rhythms, melodies, and harmonies into music, playing an important role in promoting intercultural understanding and celebrating global musical diversity. In the hands of Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Hamilton de Holanda, this musical convergence is explored in masterful form. 

“Listening to the finished album, I feel a sense of gratitude for everything I experience in music and beyond,” concludes Holanda.

Source: Lydia Liebman Promotions

Web Publisher. Founder, Editor & Webmaster for Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report & That Canadian Magazine. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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