HAROLD LÓPEZ-NUSSA MAKES HIS BLUE NOTE DEBUT WITH VIBRANT NEW ALBUM TIMBA A LA AMERICANA OUT NOW
25 AUGUST 2023 (TORONTO, ON) — Pianist and composer Harold López-Nussa has released his irrepressible Blue Note Records debut Timba a la Americana, a vibrant album teeming with joy and pathos that was inspired by the pianist’s recent decision to leave his Cuban homeland to begin a new life in France. Produced by Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Timba a la Americana presents 10 dynamic new original compositions performed by a tight-knit band featuring harmonica virtuoso Grégoire Maret, Luques Curtis on bass, Bárbaro “Machito” Crespo on congas, and Harold’s brother Ruy Adrián López-Nussa on drums. Harold discussed the album on the latest episode of “First Look” with Blue Note President Don Was.
Harold felt a strong urge to escape the conventional thinking about song form and structure that’s defined Latin jazz since the 1950s. In collaboration with League, the bassist and founder of Snarky Puppy, the two sought new settings for the clave patterns that are the heartbeat of Cuban music. They grabbed elements of danzon, the foundational dance that began in Matanzas in the late 1800s, and the stately son tumbao riffs that frame the songs of Benny Moré and so many others. They worked with ancient bata drum rhythms used to summon the deities, then incorporated them into the choppy polyrhythmic agitations of modern improvising collectives. They linked the catcalling mambos of Dizzy Gillespie and Machito to modern ideas about song structure.
The result is Harold’s most expansive and ambitious work to date, a provocative, lavishly colorful song cycle that amounts to a top-to-bottom modernization of Latin jazz. Cuba provides the anchoring point of origin; from there Harold and his band volley ideas in a spirit of cosmopolitan modernity that transcends regions and genres and eras. Harold credits League with cultivating a creative fearlessness in the studio. “He wants whatever can expand the possibilities – he just gets ideas flying around. And what amazed me, as we went on, was how he stayed inside the energy we had when we first played together.”
Harold will be bringing his thrilling live show across the world this Fall with performances in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. See a full list of tour dates at haroldlopeznussa.com.
PHOTO BY FRANK SIEMER
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