As scion of an illustrious musical family, 34-year-old Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa is one of the brightest lights on Havana's thriving jazz scene. Son of drummer Ruy López-Nussa and nephew of pianist Ernan López-Nussa, Harold gained international attention when he won top honors at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Piano Competition in 2005 (a triumph that earned him a featured festival spot the following year). While touring widely with Buena Vista Social Club vocalist, Omara Portuondo, he launched his solo career as the leader of a superlative trio with his younger brother, the phenomenal drummer Ruy Adrián López-Nussa, and bassist Gaston Joya.
For more than a half-century, the embrace between Cuba and the United States has been subject to an odd dance of politics, including a still-standing embargo. Nevertheless, the bond between the two nations is deep and strong as ever, expressed most forcefully through the dance of culture-especially music. It's hard to imagine the U.S. jazz scene without the influence of the many Cuban musicians living here. Yet the musicians who remain in Cuba-whose relationship with jazz and other musical forms stays grounded in their native island's cultural traditions and daily life-maintain a unique perspective and tell a specific story.
"I need the kind of relaxed life that Havana gives me," says López-Nussa, whose award-winning music has led to international tours and who holds dual citizenship in Cuba and France. "Every time I return to Cuba, I feel something special-not just a connection with my family and friends, but with the place itself. This is where my music comes from, what it talks about."
CLICK HERE to watch a live performance of "Conga Total" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wczqtEH8HY&frags=pl%2Cwn)
Tickets: $30, $50, $65 (plus applicable fees); 10% discount for MACC members and half-price kids 12 and under