WBGO Radar

Roberto Fonseca: Yo

cover art for roberto fonseca's album yo

Genres in jazz provide historical reference and templates by which to market music to the public.

To modern musicians like Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca, none of this matters. 

Fonseca's new recording masterfully brings together jazz, traditional West African, Cuban and electronics in a worldly expression that says much more than the title might imply.

The opener, "80s," is a Fonseca original which celebrates a time in Cuba when people danced without giving much thought to musical labels or categories.

You'll hear Roberto's ongoing fascination with the Cuban-African connection on "Bibisa," where African strings and Malian vocalist Fatoumata Diawara join the pianist in a clave-drenched dance.

As Fonseca commented, " it has always been a dream of mine to explore what my compositions could offer if interpreted by African musicians of my generation."

"Chabani," another composition from the pianist, gallops along with vocalist Faudel Amil and musicians inspired by the Algiers meets Havana feel.

Released last year in Europe where The London Times named it one of the top 10 albums of the year, Yo finally reaches our shores on August 27 from Concord, just ahead of Roberto Fonseca's headlining appearance at the Highline Ballroom on September 23.

        - Gary Walker, WBGO music director

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