Pianist Rolando Luna
One of the newest members of Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club (OBVSC), rising pianist Rolando Luna began his professional career at age 15 accompanying Cuban legend Omara Portuondo. On Sunday night, September 22, after he takes the stage with OBVSC at Davies Symphony Hall to close out SFJAZZ's week of Southern Exposure, Rolando Luna will make his American solo debut with an exclusive, intimate performance in Joe Henderson Lab. A fresh voice of modern Cuban jazz, Luna's first album took Best Recording at the 2002 Cubadisco Awards (the Cuban equivalent of the Grammys). Also an enthralling soloist, Luna won the Piano Solo competition and Audience Prize at the 41st Montreux Jazz Festival.
Unbeknownst to many, Luna's solo piano work is featured in the 2010 critically-acclaimed animated film Chico y Rita, from Spanish directors Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal. The film follows a romance between two Cuban musicians in the golden age of Cuban jazz, between Havana and NYC. Receiving praise by critics worldwide, Chico y Rita won Best Animated Film at the 25th Goya Awards, and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 84th Academy Awards. In the beginning of the film, Rolando Luna's flirtatious rendition of bebop legend Bud Powell's "Celia," seen below, sparks a romantic scene between Chico and Rita. At the very end of the clip, Idania Valdés, who also performs Sunday with OBVSC, scats the melody in unison with Luna.
Rolando Luna's solo debut in Joe Henderson Lab will extend the mood OBVSC sets well into the night. For more information on OBVSC and Rolando Luna, visit sfjazz.org.
**The SPOTLIGHT Series probes into the careers and unique, lesser-known aspects of the artists featured at the SFJAZZ Center.