We spent ALL DAY last Thursday with the amazing Quincy Jones.
He probably doesn’t know it, because there were always 200-2000 other people there as well , but WE knew it and it was AWESOME. It was like spending the day in the presence of giants and their ghosts and their shadows as Mr. Jones walked us through the amazing history of music in his lifetime, so much of which bears his unmistakeably great music mark.
After the extended keynote, Bob and I went to a panel celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album. And guess who showed up and was asked to join the panel… Mr. Quincy Jones. And so continued our wonderful day with Mr. Jones. If time allows, I’ll post more at a later time detailing more of the amazing conversations with Quincy Jones and the Kind of Blue panel, but for now…
As wonderful and amazing as Mr. Jones conversations were, what he brought to us musically was even more amazing and fantastic.
Get ready for it, because Quincy Jones has a new protégé, Alfredo Rodriguez – a pianist so intense, so beautiful and so emotive you never, ever want the music to stop. Just two months ago Rodriguez, a tender 23 years old, defected from Cuba where he was not allowed to tour internationally.
Rodriguez played after Mr. Jones’ keynote address Thursday afternoon, and again later that night at a SXSW showcase in the Elephant Room, displaying his amazing improvisational skills and beautiful artistic soul. Part of Rodriguez’ genius is his ability to be so playful and simple interspersed with moments of exquisite emotional intensity. He takes a melody and weaves it in and out of harmony and discord while maintaining the pure integrity of the melody and the feel of the song.
Part and parcel with the music are the expressive faces and body language that Rodriguez deploys to communicate even further the emotion of the music without need for spoken word. Much of this you can hear in the music and see in the videos, but to really feel the full impact of Rodriguez’ music you must see him perform live. If you ever get the chance to see him live, do not miss it! It’s an experience of a lifetime. If you don’t believe me, just ask Quincy Jones.
After Rodriguez’ performance at the Elephant Room, Mr. Jones gave us a a few more words from his heart, saying about Rodriguez “this young man makes me even happier than I already am to be alive” and finally adding “This is what music is about.”
Like Mr. Jones, Rodriguez projects a sense of humility and gratitude for his talent, which makes him feel all the more genuine and authentic – truly deserving of his wonderful musical gift.
I’ll post links to purchase Rodriguez’ music as it becomes available. Meanwhile, here are a few links where you might find new information on this newly emergent artist:
- Alfredo Rodriguez’ official (I think) web site:
- Alfredo Rodriguez’ facebook page:
- Alfredo Rodriguez on MySpace:
- Follow Alfredo Rodriguez on Twitter:
- Alfredo Rodriguez on YouTube (QuincyJonesProd channel) :
While Alfredo Rodriguez obviously will soon be very well known (that is to say, he’s not exactly “under the radar”), I was so touched by his music and his talent that I wanted to share him with you right away, now, so you don’t miss any opportunity to hear him play. I’ve included some of the best videos I found on YouTube below. Enjoy! But don’t miss a chance to see him live!
But this one was awesome too:
Last, but not least, here is a video of Alfredo Rodriguez playing the Elephant Room at SXSW – Bob and I were sitting about 7 feet behind Mr. Jones, next to the loud but well meaning drunk you’ll hear hollering in the video. I’m afraid the video doesn’t really do it justice. This encore had me in tears.
See the Quincy Jones Production Channel (QuincyJonesProd) on YouTube.com for more.