Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jazz Caliente: Pianist Harold López-Nussa

Mack Avenue Records
Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa"

There's a new wave of young Cuban jazz pianists who are pushing boundaries while still honoring the traditions of Cuban music and the modern masters like Chucho Valdes and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.  

Meet Harold López-Nussa, your guide for "El Viaje," the journey.

Starting as a classical pianist, López-Nussa quickly became a rising star, performing with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras all over the island.  

"I studied classical music and that's all I did until I was 18," he says.  Then he found jazz.

Jazz, improvisational music and Cuban son became a passion.  In 2005, he won the first prize and the Audience Choice awards at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition. 

His 2016 album "El Viaje"  is named for his experiences traveling throughout the world, yet always finding his way back to his hometown of Havana. He visits various genres and ideas while staying true to his foundational roots.  There's a focus on his innovative compositions and arrangements.

The CD features his trio with younger brother Ruy Adrián López-Nussa on drums and percussion; and from Senegal, Alune Wade on bass and vocals.  Guest artists include his father Ruy Francisco López-Nussa on drums.

Listen for Harold López-Nusssa's interpretation of a Chucho Valdes composition "Bacalao con Pan" from "El Viaje" on this week's Jazz Caliente.  

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. The program is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.