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SpanishEnglishVeinte Pianos (Various Artists)

CD/DVD Review:  Veinte Pianos by Various Artists (Cinquillo/Colibri 2011)
Review by Bill Tilford, all rights reserved

In an alternate historical timeline, pianist/composer/bandleader Ernán López-Nussa might have been one of the most famous Cuban musicians in North America as well as in Cuba. Unfortunately, critics and audiences in the United States were beginning to pay serious attention to him shortly before the political events of 2001 effectively ended his ability to tour extensively in the United States for nearly a decade, and he faded from the view of most observers in that country. 

In Cuba, however, it seems as if he has been everywhere in recent years, and the musical range of his performances, recordings and compositions has expanded far beyond the Cuban Jazz for which he first attracted international attention.  In his music today, you can hear some of everything - styles that are distinctly Cuban, Ragtime, Jazz styles that are reminiscent of Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson, music with classical influences, etc. etc.   Much of this would probably come as a surprise to listeners in countries like the US that would remember him chiefly from his music in settings like Habana Report or Afrocuba.   

Veinte Pianos is a unique project.  The CD portion features twenty of Ernán's compositions interpreted by a combination of very young (but very talented) students and young professionals (including, among others, Rolando Luna, Harold López-Nussa and Ruy Adrián López-Nussa). The DVD portion includes sheet music of all 20 songs (the level of difficulty ranges from elementary to superior), video performance clips of each song by the pianists, "encounter" video clips of the pianists and Ernán, a photo gallery, and an excellent documentary about Ernán and his music, Revelaciones

Veinte Pianos won the Grand Prize in Cubadisco 2012,  Among other things, it gives us an early look at some of Cuba's emerging piano virtuosos, an opportunity to learn more about Ernán and his music, sheet music in .PDF format, and, of course, a lot of beautiful music.   Now, we need to see his live performances in the United States again...

Ernán López-Nussa's website is

The CD portion of Veinte Pianos includes:

Al paso de Adán Adán Perugorría
Angeles de Paso Ruy Adrián López-Nussa
Inviérno en La Habana I Adán Perugorría
Locos y loqueros Ruy y Harold (4 manos)
La voisine Marlon Bordas
Lobo's cha Miguel Ángel de Armas
Voile de Marieé Liana Mª Fernández
Inviérno en La Habana II Daniel Rodríguez
Zontime No. 3 (ZT 3) Daniel Rodríguez
Puesto y convidado (ZT 1) Lisandra Pérez
La viña del señor (ZT 2) Harold Merino
Renoír y Nana Laura Estefanía Jiménez
Volver a Cuba Rolando Luna
Danza de los inocentes Yamilé Cruz
Niña con violiín Francis Santiago
Reencuentro Karla Martínez
Figuraciones Sergio Tápanes
Cata Anais Karla Martínez
Bruma en otoño Marlon Bordas
Momo Harold López-Nussa
Volver a Cuba (versión) Rolando Luna

Producers include:

Production &
Musical Direction
Ernán López-Nussa
General Production & 
Direction; Concept
Marta Bonet
Executive Production &
Rolando Montes de Oca
Production Assistant Maricel Viera
Bill Tilford - Monday, 20 January 2014, 11:05 AM