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StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Spotlight on Harold López-Nussa

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This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on pianist Harold López-Nussa, who will make his St. Louis debut with performances starting this coming Wednesday, October 18 and continuing through Saturday, October 21 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Now 34 years old, López-Nussa grew up as part of a musical family in Havana, Cuba. His father, drummer Ruy Francisco López-Nussa, and uncle Ernán, a pianist, both were working musicians; his mother Mayra Torres was a piano teacher; and his younger brother Ruy López-Nussa is the drummer in Harold's trio.

Following that family tradition, López-Nussa began playing piano in grade school, and studied classical music through his teenage years and into his twenties, ultimately earning a degree in classical piano from the Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA) in Havana.

He first gained wide attention outside Cuba in 2005 by winning the jazz solo piano competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Since then, López-Nussa has led his trio in performances at major jazz festivals including Montreux, Monterey, Montreal, Tokyo, and many others, and at major venues in Europe, Asia and the USA, including the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and SFJAZZ.



Thanks to the relaxation of trade restrictions between the United States and Cuba, he was able to release his most recent album, 2016's El Viaje, via the Detroit-based Mack Avenue label. You can hear López-Nussa's trio and some of the material from El Viaje in the first video up above, which documents their set at the 2016 Moers Festival in Germany.

After the jump, there are two more full sets, one from a show in 2015 at la Fabrica de Arte Cubano in Havana, and one recorded in 2014 at the Cosmo Jazz Festival in Chamonix, France.

Next, you can see the trio in a couple of informal clips, shot close-up by audience members in relatively small venues. The first is a song called “Paseo," recorded in February 2016 at La Zorra y el Cuervo in Havana, Cuba, and the second is “New Day," recorded in October 2015 at the SideDoor Jazz Club in Olde Lyme, CT.

The final video is a brief interview with Harold López-Nussa, produced by the website Havana Cultura.









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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

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