Viento y Tiempo: Live at Blue Note Tokyo (Top Stop Music)

Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aymee Nuviola

Released May 29, 2020

Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album 2021




Fulfilling a longtime dream of working on a project together, award-winning artists Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aymée Nuviola release “Viento y Tiempo – Live at Blue Note Tokyo.” Childhood friends from Havana, Cuba, who have both received widespread acclaim for their work, joined forces for this live album recorded during the pair’s six-night sold out stint at Tokyo’s prestigious Blue Note Tokyo on August 2019. Available as of May 29, 2020 on all music platforms by their label Top Stop Music, the album was produced by Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Gregory Elias.

Both from Havana, Cuba, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aymée Nuviola have been friends since childhood. Finally, after years of planning and preparation, these two consummate artists come together to produce a work of true artistic significance. This firey new release features unique renditions of Cuban classics such as “El Manisero,” “Bemba Colorá” and “Lágrimas Negras”, as well as an original composition by Nuviola, “Rumba Callejera,” which features her sister Lourdes Nuviola.

Earlier this year, the artists teased their collaboration with the release of the single “Azúcar Pa’ Tu Café,” song that blends Tropical Latin Jazz with Funk, and features a special appearance by Cuban artist CimaFunk.

“It brings me joy, satisfaction, melancholy, and pride to hear this project. It’s brought on by many things: the grandness of Aymée, the place and its inhabitants, the band, the loved ones and business partners present, and the awakening of memories now converted to a wish to see my mother & other loved ones dance to this music that had already existed then and continues to flourish now. Thanks to the music!” said Gonzalo Rubalcaba on this new project.

“Viento y Tiempo” is a childhood dream come true. In a way, it’s telling our mothers, who are no longer with us, that their efforts weren’t in vain, and that those two kids that they fought for are still united. It’s a tribute to the music that flows through the streets of Havana which we grew up with. I thank God and Top Stop Music’s visión for making this dream a reality,” said Aymée Nuviola.

Rubalcaba is a virtuoso musician considered one of the leading artists in Afro-Cuban jazz. He has received worldwide acclaim from outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Downbeat, the Chicago Tribune, and others. He has been nominated for 16 GRAMMY® and LatinGRAMMY® Awards and has won two each.

Nuviola, who has been nicknamed “La Sonora del Mundo,” has effectively fused Timba, Jazz, Son and Salsa, with led to Fer winning the GRAMMY® award for Best Latin Tropical Album in 2020 fr her most recent release “A Journey Trough Cuban Music”; and in 2018, she won the LatinGRAMMY® for Best Tropical Fusion Album, for her album “Como Anillo Al Dedo.”

Track Listing:

1. Rumba Callejera 6:43
2. El Güararey de Pastora 5:23
3. El Manisero 11:20
4. El Ciego 4:39
5. Rompiendo la Rutina 10:15
6. Bemba Colorá 7:27
7. Lágrimas Negras 8:56
8. Viento y Tiempo 8:05


Aymée Nuviola: lead vocals

Gonzalo Rubalcaba: piano, synthesizers and percussion

Cristobal “El Profe” Verdechia: bass

Reinier Guerra: drums

Neiger “Majito” Aguilera: percussion

Kazuhiko Kondo: soprano saxophone (solo on 4 and 5), alto saxophone (solo on 6)

Yanier Horta: soprano saxophone (1; solo on 8), alto saxophone (solo on 2 and 3; 6)

Lourdes Nuviola: lead vocals (1), backing vocals

Alfredo Lugo: backing vocals

Recorded August 2019, at Blue Note Tokyo, Japan

Produced by Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Gregory Elias


The African Diaspora spread rather evenly [so to speak] throughout the Caribbean and it is manifest in many aspects of culture from the Gulf Coast of the United States, Puerto Rico and the Dominican through the Caribbean islands and throughout the Southern part of the American continent. However, Cubans have proudly kept their artistic traditions alive. As a result, the African-ness of Afro-Caribbean music burns in the bluest part of the flame in Cuba. This is eminently clear from its many musical ambassadors through the ages – such as the pianist Bebo Valdés and the percussionist Luciano “Chano” Pozo and vocalist Celia Cruz – down to the great pianists, percussionists and vocalists of today.

At least two of four of them are present on this explosively beautiful live recording Viento Y Tiempo · Live at Blue Note Tokyo fronted by the great virtuoso pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aymée Nuviola, a velvet-voiced and seductive vocalist who harks back to the fabled vocal tradition representative of Celia Cruz and Omara Portuondo [who is creatively active even today].

What his recording captures is a flamboyant staging of Afro-Cuban music at the venerable Blue Note club in Tokyo, where both Mr Rubalcaba and Miss Nuviola offer in a flawless display of pianism and vocalastics aided by a group – and a wonderfully engaged audience – that follows their every glorious and vaunted musical strut in lock-step. Miss Nuviola is all power and passion. She sings with terrific bravura and agility as she captures the drama of life itself – from the mundane efforts of the street vendor in “El Manicero”, the love and misfortunes, hopes and dark longings of an heroic character in “Lágrimas Negras”. Her voice is androgynous – voluptuous in its upper reaches, reedy as a countertenor in its lower register.

Mr Rubalcaba is remarkably restrained throughout, but here he seems to pass the spotlight onto his vocalist, in and with whom all the drama of the music unfolds. However, every once and a while he lets fly briefly on “Rumba Callejera”, to begin with and then through the programme on “Rompiendo la Rutina” as well as on “Viento Y Tiempo”, for instance. As always, Mr Rubalcaba’s playing is aglow with unbridled virtuosity. But he also compliments that with the opposite of his pianism: with parts where he is slow, minimalist and wonderfully evocative. His touch is radiant; his fingers often fall on the keys like pebbles gently dropping onto water. And even short passages he draws us to the music, encouraging us to listen moment by moment.

The rest of the musicians in the group perform their roles perfectly, keeping us hypnotised with the spirited rhythmic support. Miss Nuviola’s sister, Lourdes Nuviola is quite the star herself in “Rumba Callejera” and Alfredo Lugo offers a broad vocal shoulder to lean on vocally throughout.

Raul da Gama (Latin Jazz Network)